The history of the city dates back to the first half of the 11th century, when the Duke of Ruthenia, Yaroslav I the Wise, erected a fortified castle-town on the left steep bank of the San River, which he called after his name. Jarosław initially was located on the St. Nicholas hill.
In 1375, Duke Władysław Opolczyk moved the city to a neighbouring hill, granting it Magdeburg rights.
At the end of the 14th century, the city was given, due to a royal bestowal, to a mighty family of Tarnowski.
Located at the crossing of important trade routes, already in the 15th century, Jarosław was of significant economic importance. The city experienced the period of its greatest splendour in the 16th and 17th centuries, becoming an important trade centre, which was well-known in the world, thanks to its fairs, which were considered to be one of the largest in Europe at the time.
The great guardian of the city was its owner, a wife of the Voivode (province head) of Wołyń, Duchess Anna Ostrogska. This donor and benefactress of Jarosław churches and monasteries, extremely efficient ruler, took care of every area of the city life.
A slow and gradual decline in significance of Jarosław started in the first half of the 18th century. The recovery occurred when the city in the middle of the 19th century, when it became the capital of the powiat (administrative district) and received a railway connection from Krakow to Lviv, and also as a result of expansion of barracks and military warehouses.
In September 1939, German troops marched into the city, and in May 1940, the arrests of Jarosław youth started. They were part of the first transport to the concentration camp in Auschwitz.
Now, the city is located within the Podkarpackie province and is the capital of the district, and the number of its inhabitants is about 38,000 people.