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Square dance originated from old European dances. Some of these dances are for instance "Morris Dance" which was first described in 1448, "English Country Dance" which is danced from the late 16th century until now, or the "Quadrille" that was first described around 1740. "English Country Dance" was, in contrast to its name, also well liked in France.

In the beginning of the 20th century "Traditional Square Dance", or "Quadrille", was danced in America, but there were less and less callers. "Traditional Square Dance" was then not as standardized like "Modern Western Square Dancing" now a days. Lloyd Shaw has thereupon, on his journeys through America, collected and written down the calls from the old callers. Those calls he tried out and practiced with his students and this gave the beginning of the modern "Western Square Dance" or "Modern American Square Dance". In the 30s and 40s from the 20th century, Lloyd Shaw traveled with his students through America and promoted Square Dance.

During the second world war and after, American soldiers have spread Square Dance across the world.

in 1971 Callerlab was founded to further secure the standardizing of Square dance.

More details can be found at  Callerlab or Wikipedia. With Wikipedia search for "Square Dance".