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A disparate band of settlers made up Levuka's population – traders, missionaries, shipwrights, speculators, and vagabonds, as well as respectable businessmen. Marist priests, led by Father Breheret, established a mission in Levuka in 1858.
By 1870, the town had a population of more than 800.
A cannery, a joint PAFCO-government venture, was opened in 1976, and is the largest private employer on the island of Ovalau.
Owing largely to Levuka's isolation, tourism plays only a minor role in the Levuka/Ovalau economy.
It was built in 1898 in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
The oldest Masonic lodge in the South Pacific, Lodge Polynesia 562 SC, is also to be found in Levuka. Levuka was also the site of Fiji's first public electricity system, which began in 1927, three days before the capital Suva was electrified.
In 2008, Levuka's PAFCO Cold Storage Plant which was located next the town's main road was destroyed by a fire caused during welding maintenance works.
Adjacent to the Levuka Community Centre stands Queens Wharf, with a maximum depth of eight meters.
Upgraded in the 1990s, it is used mostly by local craft, though foreign vessels sometimes dock, Levuka being one of three official ports of entry to Fiji (Suva and Lautoka being the other two).
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At the northern end of Levuka is the traditional Fijian village of Levuka.