Kitchener's history dates back to 1784, when the land was disposed to the Six Nations by the British as a gift for their allegiance during the American Revolution. From 1796 and 1798, the Six Nations sold 38,000 hectares of this land to a Loyalist, Col. Richard Beasley.
The Mennonites obtained all of Beasley's unsold land, creating 160 farm tracts. By 1800, the first buildings were. One of the families, arriving in 1807, was the Schneiders, whose restored 1816 home - the oldest building in the city - is now a downtown museum.
In 1816 the new township was named after Waterloo, Belgium, the site of the Battle of Waterloo (1815). After that war, the area became a favored destination for German immigrants. Many Germans established in the small hamlet to the southeast of Waterloo. In 1833, in their honor, the village was named Berlin. Berlin was chosen as the site of the seat for the County of Waterloo in 1853.
On June 9, 1912, Berlin was officially labeled a city. In 1916, following much debate and controversy, the name of the city was changed to Kitchener after Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, who died that year while serving as the Secretary of State for War of the United Kingdom.