The town of Slatina was first mentioned on January 20, 1368 in an official document issued by Vladislav I Vlaicu, Prince of Wallachia. The document stated that merchants from the Transylvanian city of Brașov would not pay customs when passing through Slatina. The word Slatina is of Slavic origin, stemming from Slam-tina, "salted land" or "salty water".
Alro Slatina, the largest aluminum producing factories in Southeastern Europe, is located in the city. Other companies based in Slatina include ALPROM (which, like ALRO, is a subsidiary of VIMETCOGROUP), Altur (engine set manufacturer), Pirelli Tires Romania (tire-manufacturer), Cord Romania (steel cord for tires), TMK Artrom (seamless steel tubes), Prysmian (electronic and electric wires and cables) and Benteler.
One of the oldest private businesses in Romania is the Slatina-based pastry shop Atletul Albanez ("The Albanian Athlete").