Santa Rosa’s historical past can be traced back to 1571. The Spanish Conquistador Juan de Salcedo, while exploring the Laguna Lake Region, discovered Biñan which was hence annexed as a barrio to the town of Tabuco (now the town of Cabuyao). During that time, Santa Rosa was part of Biñan and was called Barrio Bukol. Later in 1688, Biñan together with Barrio Bukol separated from Cabuyao. Barrio Bukol, in turn, was politically emancipated in January 18, 1792 as the municipality of Santa Rosa. The town was named after Saint Rose of Lima of Peru under whose protection and patronage it was consecrated to. This was validated by numerous material and spiritual blessings bestowed on the Town’s people for the last 207 years.
During the revolutionary period, Sta. Rosa was instrumental in the proclamation of Philippine Independence from Spain when it signed the Act of Independence on June 12, 1898. Later on, the town’s local revolutionaries fought alongside the forces of General PiodelPilar during the short lived Filipino-American War. After being briefly occupied by the Japanese during World War II, Santa Rosa was liberated by members of the Filipino guerilla resistance movement on February 5, 1945.
During the post war era until the 1970’s, the people of the municipality were still largely dependent on basic agriculture and family-owned enterprises for livelihood. The influence of industrialization slowly took shape in the 1980’s with the entry of local and foreign investors who were instrumental in the rapid economic and social transformation of the town.
From a fourth class municipality with an average income of P4 million in 1986, Santa Rosa became a first class town when its income reached P54.2 million in 1993. In 1998, the municipality’s annual revenue further increased due to intensified tax collection. Then became a City of Santa Rosa on the 10th of July 2004 (plebiscite conducted) by virtue of Republic Act No. 9264 dated March 10, 2005.
The City of Santa Rosa enjoys the status of a major residential, commercial and industrial centre in the South Luzon Region, the most dynamic sub-region in the country today.
Present day historical areas of interest in Santa Rosa are the following: (i) Baroque style Roman Catholic Church built by the Spanish Dominican Order, circa 1792; (ii) Arch de Triumph style structure, circa 1931; (iii) Spanish style houses, circa 1800s; Cuartel de Santo Domingo, mini Spanish bastion, circa 1872; and City Museum, circa 1900.