It is the seat of an arrondissement.
Sarreguemines, originally a Roman settlement, obtained civic rights early in the 13th century. In 1297 it was ceded by the count of Saarbrücken to the Duke of Lorraine, and passed with Lorraine in 1766 to France.
It was transferred to Germany in 1871, with the Treaty of Frankfurt following the Franco-Prussian War. From 1871 to 1918 it formed part of the German imperial province of Alsace-Lorraine and manufactured plush velvet, leather, porcelain, and earthenware, and was a chief depot for papier-mâché boxes, mostly used for snuffboxes. It was returned to France after World War I.
On December 21–23 1944, the 44th Infantry Division (United States) threw back three attempts by the Germans to cross the Blies River. An aggressive defense of the Sarreguemines area was continued throughout February and most of March 1945.