Oroquieta was briefly the war-time capital of the Philippines during World War II, though it was not yet classified as a city at the time. President Manuel L. Quezon, on his way to the United States via Australia, arrived in Oroquieta and set up the war-capital government before he was picked up by USAFFE and Commonwealth officials and departed by submarine to Australia. After Japan's surrender and the establishment of the Republic of Philippines, the government changed the status of Oroquieta from municipality to city in recognition of its war period significance.
In 1943, the Japanese forces occupied in Oroquieta city.
In 1945, the defenders of the Philippine Commonwealth forces liberated Oroquieta city from the Japanese Imperial forces during the Second World War.
Oroquieta City is politically subdivided into 47 barangays.