General Santos City is located in Region XI or Southern Mindanao, at the southernmost tip of the archipelago, with bearings 530' to 640' North Latitude and 12415' to 12545' East Latitude.
Organized under the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA) of the Commonwealth Government headed by President Manuel L. Quezon, General Paulino Santos led the relocation of 62 Christian settlers from Luzon to the shores of Sarangani Bay aboard the steam ship “Basilan” of Compania Maritima on February 27, 1939. The 62 pioneers (mostly agricultural and trade graduates) were the first big batch of settlers to land in GenSan with the mission to industriously cultivate GenSan's fertile expanse of land. After this first influx of pioneers, thousands more from Luzon and the Visayas have subsequently migrated into the area. This started the displacement of some native B'laan tribe to the mountains and lost their livelihood.
The B'laan people are the original settlers of GenSan which they called Dadiangas during the time. The B’laans live a nomadic way of life in and around GenSan. Evidence of their early occupancy are the names of the places in the city which were derived from their native terms. One significant name is Dadiangas, their native call for a tree which has thorns on its trunk and stems that abundantly thrive in GenSan during the time. Under Indigenous Peoples Right Act IPRA law RA 8371, these Dadiangas trees are now protected and it is proven under the Philippine jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. In the present time, the B'laan tribe live side by side in harmony with the new generation of settlers and other immigrants.
In March 1939, the first formal settlement in the city was established in ’’Alagao’’ which is now known as Barangay Lagao. Lagao district was known then as the “Municipal District of Buayan” under the jurisdiction of the deputy governor of the Municipal District of Glan. Until it officially became an independent Municipal District of Buayan on October 1, 1940 appointing Datu Sharif Zainal Abedin—an Arab mestizo married to a daughter of a very influential datu of lower Buayan—as the first district municipal mayor.
One year after the mark of Philippine Independence from the Americans on July 4, 1946, the Municipality of Buayan became a 4th class regular municipality by virtue of the Executive Order Number 82, dated August 18, 1947 by President Manuel Roxas, absorbing the Municipal District of Glan whose low income bracket at the time disqualified it for the honor. Dadiangas was the seat of government for the Municipality of Buayan electing Ireneo Santiago as its first Municipal Mayor on a local election that was held on November 11, 1947. Mayor Santiago was formally inducted on January 1, 1948.
Six years later, in June 1954, the Municipality of Buayan was renamed General Santos as a tribute to its great pioneer. This was made possible by Republic Act No. 1107 authored by Congressman Luminog Mangelen of Cotabato Province.
From 1963 to 1967, during the incumbency of Mayor Lucio A. Velayo, an upsurge in the municipality's economy was experienced as several large agri-based and multi-national corporations such as Dole Philippines, General Milling Corporation and UDAGRI have expanded into the area. Although it was then qualified to become a fourth class city from being a municipality, the residents rejected a move by Congressman Salipada Pendatun to convert the Municipality of Buayan into a city and to rename it ’’Rajah Buayan’’.
Finally, on July 8, 1968, upon the approval of Republic Act No. 5412, which was authored by the late Congressman James L. Chiongbian, the Municipality of General Santos was converted into a city while keeping its name. It was inaugurated on September 5 of that year. Antonio C. Acharon became its first city mayor. In 1988, two decades after its inauguration, it was declared as a highly urbanized city of South Cotabato
General Santos City is politically subdivided into 26 barangays.
- City Heights
- Dadiangas East (Pob.)
- Dadiangas North
- Dadiangas South
- Dadiangas West
- Lagao (1st & 3rd)
- San Isidro (Lagao 2nd)
- San Jose
- Upper Labay