During the Neolithic era, the area was already inhabited by several large tribes. Between the 21st century BC and the 16th century BC it was ruled by the Xia Dynasty and between the 16th to the 11th century BC, it belonged to the Shang Dynasty.
In 390 BC, Shan County was established, the area was often the battleground between the Qin and Wei. In 225 BC it definitively became part of the Qin area, governed by Sanchuan commandery.
In 1952, Shan County became part of Luoyang. After the Sanmenxia Dam was (almost) completed in 1959, it became part of Sanmenxia City. In 2016 the county became Shanzhou District.