Chaguanas was named for the Chaguanes Amerindian tribe. The area was settled by the time of the British conquest of Trinidad in 1797 (see History of Trinidad and Tobago). The town originated on what was then H.E. Robinson’s sugar estate adjacent to the Woodford Lodge sugar refinery and the De Verteuil coconut and cocoa estate to the north and east. Construction of the Trinidad Government Railway helped the town grow.
The Princess Margaret Highway, built by the US military during World War II, joined the Southern Main Road at Chaguanas. Construction of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway extended the highway south to San Fernando.
In the later 20th century Chaguanas grew rapidly as a bazaar town. Construction of Lange Park in the early 1980s attracted a middle-class community moving south from Port of Spain and the East-West Corridor and north from San Fernando. Its central location made it attractive to southerners working in north Trinidad and northerners looking for more affordable homes. Edinburgh Gardens and Edinburgh 500 was built by the National Housing Authority. Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of Afro-Trinidadian persons joining the mostly Indo-Trinidadian community of Chaguanas. Orchard Gardens was constructed as an upper middle class community. Lange Park gentrified, becoming an increasingly upscale neighbourhood.
In October 1990 Chaguanas was elevated to the status of borough under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act No. 21 of 1990.