Province of Southern Leyte was created by Republic Act No. 2227. It was signed by President Carlos P. Garcia on May 22, 1959.
On July 1, 1960, Southern Leyte was inaugurated as a province with sixteen (16) municipalities, 349 barangays and 4 islands: Panaon Island, Limasawa Island, San Pablo Island and San Pedro Island. It had a total population of 209,608 as of February 15, 1960 NSO Census of Population. The municipalities included: Maasin, as the capital town and the seat of the provincial government, Macrohon, Padre Burgos, Malitbog, Bontoc, Sogod, Libagon, Liloan, Pintuyan, San Francisco, St. Bernard, Cabalian (now San Juan), Anahawan, Hinundayan, Hinunangan and Silago.
Three more municipalities were created subsequently, namely: San Ricardo from Pintuyan, Tomas Oppus from Malitbog and Limasawa from Padre Burgos. Since then, Southern Leyte is composed of 1 congressional district, 1 city, 19 municipalities and 500 barangays with a total population of 399,137 in 2010.