Lisbon is the county seat of Columbiana County, Ohio. Baptist minister Lewis Kinney established the community in 1802. He named the village New Lisbon after Lisbon, Portugal. Residents later dropped "New" from the town's name.
Lisbon had a population of 1,800 inhabitants by 1840. Located on the Sandy and Beaver Canal, the town and its residents prospered. Most businesses met the needs of farmers in the surrounding countryside. In 1846, two flourmills, two iron foundries, and two woolen factories were operating in the community, as well as several carriage makers and leather processing establishments. The town also boasted seven churches, three newspapers, and fourteen retail stores.
Lisbon's growth stagnated during the latter portion of the nineteenth and for much of the twentieth century. In 1880, the community had 2,028 residents. At least eight churches were in the town in 1886, as well as three newspapers. Carriage making remained a major employer in the town and Iron ore and stone excavation had also emerged as important industries. In 2003, the town's estimated population was almost 2,900 residents. Only thirteen percent of the town's residents over twenty-five years of age had a four-year college degree in 2003.
Despite Lisbon's relatively small size, several prominent people have lived in the community. Industrialist Marcus Hanna and political leader Clement Vallandigham were from this area. Several members of the family of "Fighting McCooks" of Civil War fame lived in the town as well. Lisbon also claims to be the place where the drinking straw was invented.