Incorporated as a town in 1973, Raleigh was formerly known a Ha Ha Bay, which is probably from the French "haha", a boundary or fence which could not been seen until closely approached.
This describes how nearby Burnt Island appears when looking at it from the sea. The present name was adopted in 1914 in honour of Sir Walter Raleigh. The Basque probably fished here and it was known to the French who fished from Quirpon.
The area was being used by the English in the mid-1800s and the first permanent settlers of the community were William and Emily Parmiter in 1871. In 1874 there were 21 residents of the town and by 1934 there were 184. The fishery provided and provides most of the income to the town, but sealing, lumbering and subsistence farming also took place.