The town is part of the ancient Samogitian tribe ethnographic region. Šilalė was first mentioned in 14th century. Weekly markets started in 1522, the first church was built in 1533. A small town next to Šilalė Manor was mentioned in 1586. Šilalė received it's trade privilege in 1660 and 1744. The city was burned heavily in 1916. Šilalė was reorganized as a district town on January 31, 1952. The coat of arms of Šilalė was created in 1968, in 1992 the coat of arms was rebuilt according to the 1968 standard and was approved by the President of the Republic of Lithuania in 2001.