The city was first mentioned in a 1422 court document as a small farming town. It remained this way until the nineteenth century. During this period the city found renewed investment from the country's Austrian rulers. With the arrival of the area's first post office and school, as well as the increase of trade with the Ottoman Empire, the city began to flourish. It was ruled by Ottoman Empire as part of Sanjak of Herzegovina between 1494 and 1685, then by Republic of Venice till 1797 and finally by French Empire before the Austrian Habsburgs took over. In 1875 and 1910 Emperor Francis Joseph I visited the city.
Metković is located near the ancient Roman settlement of Narona (today Vid). Narona was established as a Roman trading post, after Rome's successful war (Illyrian Wars) with the neighboring Illyrian tribeDaors (ruins of their main city are located near Stolac), and successfully grew until the 3rd century AD. After that it went on a steady decline especially after a large 4th-century AD earthquake. Upon the arrival of Slavonic tribes in the mid-6th century AD, the city of Narona was abandoned with most parts being covered under silt that was carried by the river Neretva. Only minor excavations were done, most of them being concentrated on the location of Vid. One of the city's landmarks is its Church of St. Elijah, the city's patron saint.
For tertiary education students need to move to another city, the most common destinations are: Dubrovnik (business, management, accounting, music), Split (sciences, management, accounting), Zagreb (music, arts, sciences, applied sciences, engineering, architecture, education, humanities, management, accounting, business), Zadar (humanities, education, early childhood education) and Mostar.