The Grand'Anse department used to be part of Sud Department until 1962, when the new Grand'Anse department was created. The department was reduced further in 2003, with the creation of a new department of Nippes from Miragoâne and Anse-à-Veau arrondissements.
Prior to the 2003 split, it had a population of around 600,000 (2002). Afterward, the population at the 2003 Census was 337,516. The area of the department (after the split) is 1,912 square kilometres (738 sq mi).
In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, a food aide convoy transporting supplies through Jérémie, encountered a hijacking attempt by 20 men, on 30 January 2010.