Skuodas was first mentioned in historical sources in 1253, as a part of Kuršas territory.
In 1259 near Skuodas the Samogitian army, led by Duke Algimantas, defeated the Livonian Order, killing 33 knights and many more low-rank soldiers. The significance of the town of Skuodas began to increase when in 1523-1529 a more precise boundary between Kuršas and Samogitia was set, when it became a border town and the property of the nobles Chodkevičiai.
Jonas Jeronimas Chodkevicius has spent a lot of his money on the Lithuanian army in the Livonian War. To cover the funds, in 1565 Chodkevičius from the Grand Duke of Lithuania Žygimantas Augustuas was granted permission to govern the (small rural) districts of Samogitian eldership in Gustė, Gintališkė and Viešvienai. All these areas, after three years of merit to the state, were handed over to permanentlyuse by Žygimantas Augustas.In this way, in 1568 August 8. he was given the town of Skuodas, which was located on the left bank of the Bartuva river.
In 1572 city rights of Magdeburg (right to self-government) were granted to Skuodas thanks to Jonas Chodkevičius. The same year a new part of the city was started to settle on the right bank of Bartuva river, which was called by his own name – Johanesbergas. In its center, a rectangular square was planned, later in the middle of this square a town hall and trade buildings were built. Bishop Jurgis Tiškevičius (was a bishop 1633-1649) proclaimed the center of the Dean's office in Skuodas.
In Skuodas new town an important trade routes have intersected, which connected Livonia with Prussia and also Western Samogitia with the ports of Liepaja and Riga. In 1915, a little further from the town, Bajorai-Priekulė (Latvia) railway was built.
Skuodas is a border, crafts and trade town.