The first inhabitants of Romblon were Negritos tribes of Panay and Mindoro Mangyan tribes. The discovery of hanging coffins and artistic material in caves of the island of Banton demonstrates the existence of a rich and ancient civilization and Aboriginal culture.
In 1582, Miguel de Loarca recorded the island's name as "Lomlon" or "Doblon". In the local Visayan dialect, the word means a bird warming an egg in its nest. It was also known as Domblon before the present name was adopted.
In 1635, the island of Romblon was evangelized by Spanish Recollect fathers and became a dependency of the Captaincy General of the Philippines. Their fortified church is the present cathedral of Romblon. Two forts erected by them, San Andrés and Santiago, are now in ruins.