The name of this district traces back to the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. This duchy was established in 1701 after the former duchy of Mecklenburg-Güstrow ceased to exist. The area of the district is roughly identical with the old duchy's main territory, the Stargarder Land. The old duchy included an exclave around Ratzeburg, which is today situated in Schleswig-Holstein. Southern parts of the older Mecklenburg-Strelitz, including the town of Fürstenberg, today belong to Brandenburg's Oberhavel district. The capital of the duchy was the town of Strelitz, which was completely destroyed in a fire in 1712. After this disaster the duke ordered a new town built at the shore of a small lake called the Zierker See. This town became Neustrelitz (= "New Strelitz").
The bull head on a yellow field is the coat of arms of the dukes of Mecklenburg. The tower stands for the castle of Stargard, the longtime seat of the dukes of Mecklenburg since its construction in the 13th century; it remains the northernmost mountain-top castle in present-day Germany. The Maltese cross alludes to the possessions of the Order of St. John of Malta in the territory before 1648.