Originally the Native settlement Asaukhknosk, the city was settled by United Empire Loyalists in 1789, when it was known as Meyer's Creek after prominent settler and industrialist John Walden Meyers. It was renamed Belleville in 1816. Belleville became an important railway junction with the completion of the Grand Trunk in 1855.
Procter and Gamble, Lipton, Wilson Sports, and Nortel are among the internationally-known companies with industrial operations currently in Belleville. Belleville is the home of Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology.