Gold mining created the town of Zeballos in the 1930s, when gold was discovered in the hills surrounding the small port at the mouth of the Zeballos River. The inlet was named after a Spanish lieutenant, Ciriaco Cevallos, in 1792.
At the height of the gold production, Zeballos was a thriving town of over 1500 people. However, the second world war and then a lower price of gold meant an end to the gold mines and the Village slowly reduced in size. Forestry is now the mainstay of the local economy, and approx. 100 people make Zeballos home year-round.