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The Alabama Territorial legislature created Marengo County on February 6, 1818, from land that was acquired from the Choctaw under the Treaty of Fort St. Stephens, on October 24, 1816. As with the four other "Five Civilized Tribes", the Choctaw were forced westwards by the Mississippi River, and then into Oklahoma during the Indian Removal period conducted by the federal government.
This county was named in honor of Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Marengo against Austrian armies, on June 14, 1800. This name is in honor of Bonapartists, the first European settlers who fled France following Napoleon's fall. A number of French settlers settled in Demopolis in 1817. They wanted to establish a Vine and Olive Colony. Others who settled here from France were also ethnic French refugees from Saint-Domingue where they had escaped the enslavement of Africans and "free peoples of color". They had also fought Napoleon's troops, white colonists, in 1804. The territory was named Haiti by them, the second republic of the western hemisphere.
The original name of the county seat was the Town of Marengo. However, the name was changed in 1823 to Linden. Linden is an abbreviation of Hohenlinden. It was the scene of the Battle at Hohenlinden which saw France win in Bavaria on 3 December 1800 during Napoleon's campaign.