The city of Ozamiz grew out of an old Spanish town called Misamis—a name believed to have been derived from the Subanen word “Kuyamis,” a variety of coconut. Other unverified historical sources, however, suggest that the name Misamis came from “Misa” after the Catholic Mass. The origin and the growth of the old Spanish town, Misamis, was due to the presence of the Spanish garrison stationed at the stone fort named Nuestra Senora dela Concepcion del Triunfo, which was constructed some time in the 18th century in order to control the pirate activities originating in the nearby Lanao area. In 1850, the town of Misamis became the capital of the District of Misamis.
In October 1942 Wendell Fertig established the command headquarters of the growing guerrilla resistance to the Japanese occupation of Mindanao in the Spanish fort in the city. His headquarters was abandoned June 26, 1943, in the face of a large Japanese attack.Until the end of the war the Japanese occupied this fort. The Ozamiz city website said of this, “During the Japanese occupation of Misamis in World War 11(1943-1945), the “Cotta” was garrisoned by a contingent of Japanese who dug foxholes near or under the walls. This undermining of walls later led to the destruction of the Southwest bastion in the earthquake of 1955.”
After the Second World War, Misamis became a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act 321 on July 16, 1948. RA 321 also renamed Misamis to Ozamiz after a WW-II hero José Ozámiz who hailed from the province of Misamis Occidental and who at one time also served as its governor and congressional representative of the Lone District of Misamis Occidental, a delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention that resulted in the creation of the 1935 Constitution for the Philippine Commonwealth Government. In 1941, José Ozámiz was elected to the Philippine Senate.
Ozamis City became a chartered city in 1948 and the major contributory factor to this is the fact that Ozamis is the gateway from the East giving it the geographical advantage over the other two (2) cities of the province.