Tamsweg is the seat of the Tamsweg district administration responsible for the entire Lungau and the Tamsweg district court. Tamsweg is, along with Reutte, one of the two municipalities of a district authority in Austria that have not been elevated to the status of a city.

The Lungau was settled by Slavs from around 600 and by Bavarians from around 700. The name is mentioned in a document around 1156 as Taemswich and could come from a Mr. Domes who settled here with his clan around the year 700. At that time, the Carinthian nobleman Eberhard von der Drau handed over an estate near Tamsweg to the Salzburg cathedral chapter.

In 1246 Archbishop Eberhard II bought the Lungau property of the Lords of Pettau and donated the church and half of the market to the cathedral chapter. Even then Tamsweg was likely to have been its own parish. A church is first mentioned in a document in 1231, at that time still as a subsidiary church of Mariapfarr.

From 1428 to 1433 the pilgrimage church of St. Leonhard was built on a hill south of the village. Tamsweg became a place of pilgrimage known far beyond the borders of Austria and experienced a significant economic boom.

A setback occurred in 1490 when Tamsweg in the course of the wars of Emperor Frederick III. against the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, whose troops had established themselves in the fortified St. Leonhard's Church, was pillaged and plundered by imperial troops. The Reformation also brought a decline in pilgrimages, which only took off again with the settlement of Capuchins in the course of the Counter Reformation in 1644.


In 1571 the place became the residence of the barons of Kuenburg. The Archbishop of Salzburg, Georg von Kuenburg, gave the place a market coat of arms in 1587. The oldest verifiable weekly market privilege dates back to 1416; however, the market law should go back to the time of the Pettauer.

From around 1700 there was a brisk trade in salt and iron, which was an important source of income for the Tamsweg citizens for more than 200 years.

In 1797, Tamsweg was occupied by French troops in the First Coalition War and had to pillage 4518 guilders. In addition, 222 oxen and large quantities of food and feed were requisitioned.

After the Treaty of Luneville, the previous archbishopric of Salzburg came to Austria as crown land, and with it Tamsweg. The 19th century brought a decline into insignificance for the region, which was accompanied by a decline in population, poverty and development deficits.

The region did not experience a boom again until the turn of the 20th century, so the Murtalbahn was opened in 1894, an electricity station and a water pipe were built in 1897 and the hospital opened in 1908.

In 1936 six surrounding rural communities were incorporated and the community area expanded to the size it is today.