The town, inhabited by slavs from the 7th century, was founded in 1260 by Bruno von Schauenburg (de), bishop of Olomouc. Bruno chose Kroměříž to become his see and he also made his castle the centre of his dominion which consisted of more than 60 vassals from the whole of Moravia. Kroměříž is referred to as a market village in a document by Přemysl Otakar II from 1256, but in 1266 it is already called a town. Bruno also established what was to become the famous Archbishop's Palace. The town was badly damaged in the Thirty Years' War, was plundered twice by Swedish troops (1643 and 1645), after this the Black Death came. Bishop Karl II von Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn rebuilt the city and the palace after the war. The Constitutive Imperial Congress sat in Kroměříž in 1848.
Kroměříž is also a birthplace of Max Švabinský (born September 17, 1873; died February 10, 1962), one of the most important Czech painters of the last century. A permanent exhibition called Max Švabinský Memorial can be seen in the Museum of Kroměříž Region (Czech: Muzeum Kroměřížska), located in the lower part of Big Square (Velké náměstí), near the entrance to the Bishop's Palace (Gallery - Titian´s Marsyas).