A fifth class municipality, it has a 12,000 hectare land. Ballesteros came about when some barangays of Aparri and Abulug were merged to make a new town. Ballesteros was formerly a barrio of Santa Cruz of Abulug. Executive Order No. 79 issued on December 18, 1911 by Governor General William Camoron Forbes sliced the barrios of Santa Cruz, Palloc and Ammubuan from the municipality of Aparri; the barrio of Santa Cruz, Cabuluan and Cabaritan from the municipality of Abulug to form an independent municipality now known as Ballesteros, named after a kind priest, Fr. Gregorio Ballesteros, who spent the better years of his life with the residents. The inhabitants are Ibanags but the Ilocano migrants who intermarried with the natives made Ballestros an Iluko-speaking town.
On January 1, 1912, the new political subdivision was formally inaugurated into a new municipality, taking the barrios of Payagan, Fugu and Mabuttal of the municipality of Aparri. And again on October 15, 1945, the town acquired additional territory by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 692 which annexed to Ballesteros the Sitios of Nararagan, Cabayu, Tulang, Silangan, Cabaggawan, Lappiad and Batolin from the newly created municipality of Allacapan.
On January 1, 1912, Ballesteros was inaugurated as a municipality,
In 1913, Governor-General Francis Burton Harris issued an executive order further annexing some barangays of Aparri to Ballesteros. To further expand it, sometime in October 1945, from the newly created town of Allacapan were chopped some barangays and annexed to Ballesteros, resulting to 19 barangays being attributed to Ballesteros.
Now, the residents are predominantly Ilocano though there are sparingly Itawes still. The Negritoes often go down to conduct business on a barter basis.