The name of the place went through a number of changes since it was initially established during the Spanish era. Back in the 1600s, the place was called the Plaza de Armas since it was a place where the military trained and held ceremonies. An expansion of the area resulted to renaming the place into Plaza Mayor before it was developed and named in honor of the Queen Regent of Spain. During this time it was renamed to Plaza Maria Cristina.
There was a period when Plaza Independencia became the haven of lawbreakers, who would take advantage of locals and foreigners alike, since it the place did not have any functional lamps at night. Due to the situation, the Cebu City government temporarily closed the plaza to renovate it in 2007 following the completion of the road tunnel project leading to the South Road Project. By the time it reopened on May 8, 2011, Plaza Independencia was given a new lease in life. It was revitalized and became a safe place for families to spend a weekend afternoon together. It became conducive for event and activities aimed at enhancing the tourism efforts of the local government. In fact, it was the main hub for the annual Gabii sa Kabilin.