Legazpi was originally a fishing settlement called Sawangan that occupied what is now the Legazpi Port, whose inhabitants were mostly fishermen and farmers.
In 1587, Franciscan friars of the Doctrina de Cagsawa began to convert the area's population to Christianity and in 1616, founded a separate parish town a few kilometres inland called Albay. Its first parish priest built a small chapel and established the Misión de San Gregorio Magno de Sawangan. Eventually, Sawangan was absorbed into Albay, which later gave its name to the entire province.
On September 22, 1856, through Royal Decree, the name Legazpi was officially adopted and the settlement was expanded to include the visitas of Lamba, Rawis and Bigaa. The newly expanded and independent town of Legazpi was officially inaugurated on October 23, 1856.
After the eruption of Mayon Volcano on February 1, 1814, Legazpi residents evacuated to Makalaya (now Taysan). At the decree of the Gobierno Superior on October 1, 1829, they were prohibited from establishing another town, leaving them to settle in Taytay (Bagumbayan). In 1818, Sawangan (now called Albay Viejo, 'Old Albay'), was partitioned from Cagsawa and made the capital of Partido de Ibalon (the former name of Albay Province). Some remained in Albay Viejo and established a new settlement around an ermita (hermitage/chapel of ease) dedicated to the Archangel Raphael, whom they adopted as their patron saint after SaintGregory the Great had been transferred to the new site of Albay.
Having attained economic progress, autonomy and prosperity, Legazpi was declared open to world trade by the Cedula real of May 18, 1872.
Legazpi was first declared a city under the Becerra Law of 1892 by Rona Cantuba Mecayer. The new city comprised the municipalities of Legazpi, Albay Nuevo, andDaraga under the Ayuntamiento de Albay. The first set of officials - Alcalde, Teniente de Alcalde, Sindico, Secretario and Regidores (councilor) - took office in 1898.
source: www. wikipedia.com, www.wowlegazpi.com