Nancy and her territory were inhabited from very ancient times by the Gauls, as evidenced by bronze coins, along with arrowheads and flint tools, bracelets and necklaces.
The historical period in the area of Nancy properly begins with the arrival of the Romans, and the city of Toul, which with Metz and Verdun were the closest cities to the site of the future city of Nancy.
The land was of some importance in Roman times because of its many villages and the density of the population, and because the Romans extracted iron in the region; but at this time Nancy did not yet exist: although some scholars identify the ancient site of Nancy in the locality called Andesina this assumption is not sufficiently proven.
Apparently the territory of Nancy was inhabited during the Merovingian age (511-754) - at the end of the nineteenth century a coin of the Merovingian age was discovered which had an inscription on the obverse: "Nanciaco" and "Medoald" ( who manufactured the coin). It was the first time in history that we find the name of the old Nancy, called 'Nanciacus', which was probably a Roman "fundus" belonging to a family called Nantius.
The name Nancy is more clear, however, in a document from the late 10th century (947 AD), when the Abbey of Saint Evre of Toul receives a donation where they mention the Nantian Court, then in two documents of 1069 and 1073 Nancy is mentioned as a property of the Dukes of Lorraine, who sometimes stay there, making it a "castrum", a fortress which contained the palace of the dukes.
By the 12th-13th century 'Nanceio' had several monasteries, of Notre-Dame, of Saint Jean and of the Abbey of Clairlieu. Between the 12th and 15th century Nancy was the capital of the duchy and new fortifications were added.
The Dukes of Lorraine enlarged and embellished the city with new buildings (the so-called “Ville-Vieille” (Old Town), with the Ducal Palace, the “Porte de la Craffe” and the Basilica St-Evre. A “Ville-Neuve” (New Town) was founded by Charles III (1543-1608), Duke of Lorrain, in the late 16th century, with streets intersecting at right angles.
Nancy enters into history in the 15th century, following the events that involved the duchy of Burgundy after the end of the Hundred Years' War. It was a large feudal territory, including Flanders, Artois, Picardy, and Burgundy, with the Duke of Burgundy a vassal of the King of France, even though he really was a king in a position to oppose the aims of the French king.
Charles the Bold (1465-1477) then activated a policy of territorial expansion, in an attempt to join his Flemish domains to Burgundy, but the Swiss army in 1477 at Nancy destroyed his army and the same Charles the Bold was killed in battle.
In 1736 Louis XV conquered Lorraine and he elected Regent Stanislaw Leszczynski (1677-1766), the dethroned King of Poland. Stanislaus was a great patron and lover of the arts and sciences, and he adorned the city with grand squares such as Place Royale (now Place Stanislas), Place de la Carrière and Place d'Alliance, with extraordinary buildings which embellished Nancy as the "Ville Royale" (Royal City).
In 1766, Lorraine was incorporated into the Kingdom of France.