The city tracks its roots from a small village in the headstream of Dolzhyk River. At the end of the 18th century, it was granted by Catherine II of Russia to atamanVasyl Orlov as a reward for his excellent military service. The farmland took on the name Dolzhykovo-Orlovske. Development of the area significantly expanded towards the end of the 19th century, after the discovery of coal in the Donetsk region. In 1938 the settlement received city status and its current name in memory of the Bolshevik leader Yakov Sverdlov.