Pre-hispanic Batangas was characterized by large communities, high levels of culture and an advanced civilization. According to 13th to 15th century records from the Yuan and Ming dynasties, members of the thriving communities in the province were actively trading with China, Japan, India as well as the Malay kingdoms.

Another reflection of the province’s high level of culture and civilization during the pre-hispanic era are the intricate pieces of jewelry, pottery and fine furniture the Batangan (early Batangueños) possessed. Many of the pieces unearthed by present day archeologists were jewelry fashioned out of chambered nautilus shells, clay medallions and pots. The Batangans’ tombs also suggest belief in the afterlife, higher beings, the significance of nature and the spirit world.

Spanish missionaries first set foot on the banks of Calumpang River in 1572. They found huge logs, called “batang” by the natives, in abundance. In 1581, Spanish authorities formally established the town of “Batangan,” named after the batang logs and appointed Don Agustin Casilao as its first gobernadorcillo. The town’s first Roman Catholic Church was also built in 1581. It became the provincial capital in 1754.

Known as the “cradle of heroes and nationalists,” Batangas was also among the first Philippine provinces to revolt against Spain. On August 30, 1896, it was one of the first provinces placed under Martial Law by Governor General Ramon Blanco. The Batangueños’ role in the county’s emancipation and nationhood is undeniable.  Apolinario Mabini, known as the “Brains of the Revolution”; General Miguel Malvar, the last Filipino general to surrender to the Americans as well as Marcela Agoncillo, who made the Philippine flag raised by Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898, all hail from Batangas. A strong feeling of patriotism is evident among Batangas City leaders. Proof of this is reflected in the street names, streets perpendicular to the church were named after revolutionary clergy while streets parallel to the church were named after revolutionary leaders.

During the American occupation, a local government was set up in the city. Jose Villanueva was elected as “Municipal President” on July 4, 1901. Subsequent elections  installed the following as municipal presidents: Juan Palacios, 1904-1905; Jose Arguelles, 1906; Marcelo Llana, 1907; Sisenando Ferriols, 1908-1909; Ventura Tolentino, 1910-1914; Julian Rosales, 1915; Juan Gutierrez, 1916-1919; Julian Rosales, 1920-1922; Juan Buenafe, 1923-1930; Perfecto Condez, 1931-1937;  Juan Buenafe, 1938-1940.

The Batangas High School, one of most enduring secondary schools in the region was inaugurated in 1902. On    July 4, 1902, under the American Regime, the Batangas town’s  civil government was inaugurated and a municipal hall was subsequently inaugurated on June 19 of the same year. The Trade School was established on June 1910. Today it is known as the Batangas State University. Plaza Mabini, a public park which honors the memory of Apolinario Mabini, was inaugurated on July 25, 1915.

Under the Japanese, the war-torn town of Batangas became a hub for southern Luzon. Roman L. Perez, a municipal Councilor was appointed Mayor by the Japanese on October 14, 1943. Throughout the country’s struggle against the Japanese, guerrilla fighters from Batangas safeguarded roads in the province leading to Quezon and Laguna. Batangueño fighters also spearheaded raids and intelligence gathering operations against the Japanese.

The town was liberated on March 11, 1945 when the 158th Regimental Combat Team of the US 6th Army division reached it.

After the United States recognized the sovereignty of the Philippines on July 4, 1946; Batangas’ excellent port became a gateway for commerce in Southern Luzon and the Visayas. On July 13, 1948, the Batangas Catholic Church was elevated to status of Basilica Minor of the Infant Jesus and the Immaculate Concepcion. Batangas was declared a city on June 21, 1969 through Republic Act No. 5495 and its City Government were formally organized on July 23, 1969.