The district dates back to the Oberamt Esslingen, which was created when the previously free imperial city Esslingen became part of Württemberg in 1803. After several changes over the next century, it was converted into a district in 1938. Additionally, it was enlarged by adding several municipalities from the neighboring Amtsoberamt Stuttgart, Oberamt Schorndorf, Kirchheim unter Teck and Göppingen.
In 1973, the district was merged with the district Nürtingen (without Grafenberg). In 1975, two municipalities from the district Böblingen were added to give the district today's borders.
The coat o airms shows the imperial eagle taken frae the coat o airms o the ceety o Esslingen. The checkered diamonds in the bottom are the seembol o the Dukes o Teck, an the horn on the breast o the eagle is the seembol o the Coonts o Urach. Baith seembols wur taken frae the coat o airms o the district of Nürtingen, as the twa families played a major role in the history o the aurie.