Scandium was discovered in 1876 by Lars Fredrik Nilson, in Uppsala, Sweden, through the study of the euxenite ore, although its existence had already been inferred by Dimitri Mendeleev in 1868, based in its Periodic Table of the Elements. It is not a rare element, being twice more abundant than boron. However, it is extremely difficult to obtain in a pure state, so its chemistry is not very well known.

After its discovery, scandium was treated just as like a rare-earth, due to its common characteristics. However, the discovery of new physical and chemical properties, claimed different treatment for this element.

Metallic scandium was first prepared in 1937, by Fischer and collaborators, through the electrolysis of scandium chloride in a mixture of several melted salts. However, the obtained product still contained about 5% of sludge, mainly iron and silicon.