Wernigerode was the capital of the medieval County of Wernigerode and Stolberg-Wernigerode. In 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars, it became part of the Prussian Province of Saxony. The Hasseröder brewery was founded in Wernigerode in 1872.
After World War II, Wernigerode was included in the new state Saxony-Anhalt within the Soviet occupation zone (relaunched in October 1949 as the German Democratic Republic/East Germany). During the Communist years, the town was very close to the inner German border. Wernigerode became part of the restored state of Saxony-Anhalt in 1990 after German reunification.