The city of Arboga is known to have existed as a town since the 13th century but the area has been inhabited since around 900 AD. The name (originally Arbugæ) consists of the two words "Ar" which in ancient Swedish means river and bughi which means "bend" and which together have the meaning "river bend".
The city was at one time a residence of the royal family of Vasa. It was the scene of church assemblies and national diets, and it is known for the antiquities in its neighborhood. The first session of the Riksdag of the Estates was held in Arboga in 1435. Albertus Pictor, the most famous Swedish artist of the late medieval period, was admitted burgher of the town in 1465.