The name Generallandesarchiv dates back to the time after 1803, when the Margravate Baden was converted into the Grand Duchy Baden.
The records of the Margraves of Baden are the historical centrepiece in the Generallandesarchiv. Those records of the House Baden-Baden (in Rastatt) and the House Baden-Durlach that were secured after the losses of the wars in the 17th century were brought together in Karlsruhe at the end of the 18th century. All the archives in Karlsruhe (up to the 20th century) were arranged according to Hofrat Friedrich Nikolaus Brauer's categories from 1801, which say that in the registries as well as in the archives all the documents of the administration have to be kept in alphabetical order under certain reference words.
In 1802/03 due to secularisation the archives of the bishops of Speyer, Constance, Strasbourg and Basel became the property of Baden, as well as the archives of the monasteries Salem, Reichenau, St. Blasien etc. Since 1919 the Generallandesarchiv has kept the family archives of the Grand Duke. The maintenance of these archives is the responsibility of the Head of the Generallandesarchiv under the terms of a contract with the House Baden.
In 1905 the Generallandesarchiv could move into a new building, which was then a very modern one built according to the latest standards. The Generallandesarchiv is still in the same building, which has become a historic monument.
Due to the administration reform in Baden-Württemberg the Generallandesarchiv became a department of the Landesarchiv on January 1st, 2005.