Zapala was founded after the controversial Conquest of the Desert, as it was early in 1885 that the first productive settlements (livestock and fruit) became established in the area. Thus, a town gradually began to emerge. Before that, the site had been used for shelter and grazing by groups of natives that crossed these lands with their animals.
The Trannack family, then owners of estancia Zapala, managed to get the authorization from the government to divide their land into lots to be sold in 1913. It was on that date that the official foundation of the City of Zapala was set.
In 1914, the first train reached the terminal of the railway that had been laid out to join this region with Buenos Aires. As a result, the new town began to develop from the booming commercial activities held in the area. This was the way Patagonia started to be populated. So far, it had remained an unspoiled land for men from the city.
And Zapala began to grow, providing leather and wool to big urban centers and supported by the low cost enabled by the railway. It slowly became one of the most important cities in the Province of Neuquén.
Today, the city has lost the strength of the railway but continues to be a mandatory stop for travelers to the south.