The first known organized states to have ruled over the region of Uşak were the Phrygians for the eastern portion and the Lydians in the west during the 7th century BC. Karun Treasure, discovered by clandestine treasure hunters in Uşak in 1965, and whose smuggling outside Turkey and subsequent retrieval after decades from New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art made international headlines, provides a perception of the high degree of civilization attained by these Anatolian states. The region of Lydia was later taken over by the Persian Empire in the 6th century BC and by Alexander the Great and his successor states as of the 4th century. Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, the Beylik of Germiyan and finally the Ottoman Empire as of 1429 had established their rule over Uşak.
In Ottoman times, the city's name was spelled as "Uşşak", which could mean "lovers" and "minstrels" at the same time. The tradition privileges the second significance with regards to the name's origin, which could be a reference to the region's rich folk literature.
Uşak was occupied by the Greek army between 28 August 1920 and 1 September 1922. The city was put to fire by the rapidly retreating Greek troops, causing the city important damages that were documented and calculated. The day after, General Nikolaos Trikoupis was made prisoner near Uşak, the village of Göğem, today buried under a dam reservoir.
A district center depending Kütahya Province until 1953, Uşak was made into a province seat in that year, when Uşak Province was constituted.