The city was granted city privileges by the Empress, Catherine the Great in 1782 which is when it acquired its present name and became the seat of an uyezd.The present name is taken from a large kurgan (burial mound) close to the original settlement.
Its coat of arms dates were granted on 17th March 1785, and it became the administrative center of Kurgan Oblast in 1943.
Kurgan oblast is known for a large number of lakes (2,943 lakes of total area 3,000 sq. km.). The lakes are of natural origin and the great number of them is explained by the great number of marshes on the territory of the region.