Slavyansk originated in the Middle Ages as Copa or Coparia, a Genoese trade outpost controlled by the Ghisolfi family. After the fall of the Genoese power in the Pontic region, the site was abandoned until 1747 when the Khanate of Crimea erected a small fort, known in Russian sources as Kopyl.
After the conquest of Taman by Imperial Russia the Tatar fort gave way to the Cossack stanitsa Kopylskaya. In 1865 it was renamed after the Slavyansky regiment that had been quartered there under Catherine the Great. In 1958 it was incorporated as the town of Slavyansk-on-the-Kuban (so called in order to distinguish it from the eponymous city in Ukraine).
Modern Slavyansk is a small and rather run-down resort with a struggling oil industry. The Assumption Cathedral (1904-07) is the sole building of historical interest.