The beginnings of organized life of the human communities on the broader territory of Ruma date back to prehistoric times. The testimonies to this thesis are the archeological excavations of prehistoric settlements, out of which Gomolava near the village of Hrtkovci in the Municipality of Ruma is definitely the most important archeological site. The first known inhabitants of this area were the members of various Illyrian and Celtic peoples (Amantini, Breuci, Scordisci…).
At the turn of the era, as the herald of a New Age, the Roman conquering army appeared in the region of Srem for the first time. During the years, more and more numerous military camps in the area slowly turned into settlements. The indigenous population was gradually losing their ethnic features and started to accept the Roman culture. Srem became one of the most important Roman border Provinces turning Sirmium into one of the capitals of the Roman Empire and the home of several Roman Emperors (Decius Traian, Maximian, Aurelian, Probus…).There were no larger Roman settlements on the territory of Ruma, but there were a number of agricultural estates, so called “villae rusticae.”
At the time of the migrations of the peoples (from the 3rd century forth) various Germanic peoples, afterwards the Huns, Avars and Slavs destroyed the Roman culture on this soil. Then, over the next couple of centuries, Srem became the battlefield for the Franks, Bulgarians, Byzantines and Hungarians who all governed it for some time. The question of the meaning of the very name of Ruma has not been solved so far. The assumption is that it is a word of Oriental origin which came to this area along with the Ottomans, but we cannot exclude a possibility that it dates back to even older days. According to the currently available sources, the name of Ruma was mentioned for the first time in the defter of Srem in 1566/1567. Ruma was just a middle - sized village at the time (49 households), a church and three priests. The inhabitants of the village were the Serbs, who lived off the land and cattle breeding while they paid taxes to their Ottoman authorities.
Ruma was a village in Turkey when Habsburg-Ottoman War (1683-1699) started. During the war, Srem was completely plundered and its inhabitants fled in all directions. The war was ended by the Treaty of Karlovac in 1699, when the region of Srem was divided into Habsburg and Ottoman part; the borderline was between Sremska Mitrovica and Slankamen. In that way, Ruma stayed in the Ottoman part of Srem for some time. During the Habsburg-Ottoman War, the First Serbian Migration from the southern parts of the country (Kosovo and Metohija, Montenegro, Old Varna, Herzegovina…) took place, when a number of people moved to Srem. There are no reliable data whether the village of Ruma received new inhabitants at the time, but it may be assumed so with a high probability, at least according to the last names of its inhabitants from the beginning of the 18th century. Only after another Habsburg-Ottoman war and the Treaty of Pozarevac in 1718, the village of Ruma and the entire region of Srem did become a part of the Habsburg Monarchy for the next 200 years.
Four important events were recorded in the second half of the 18th and the first half of the19th century. Ruma had a Serbian and a Catholic Grammar School until 1787. In 1745 the Habsburgs established Military Frontier in Srem and Sremska Mitrovica also became a part of Military Frontier. Baron Marko Pejacevic had decided to build a new headquarters of his landed estate. He chose a site immediately next to the village of Ruma. That is how in 1746, at the location of the present-day Ruma, a new urban settlement with wide streets, crossing one another at a right angle started to grow. The first inhabitants were the Serbs from the surrounding towns and the village of Ruma, as well as Germans, immigrants from Germany. Even though they had different occupations- from farmers and tradesmen to merchants- they all enjoyed civil benefits, which was a significant privilege at the time. Likewise, based on the Charter issued by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria on July 20, 1747 Ruma itself gained the status of a free trading town, entitled to organize several annual Fairs and a market day once a week. In the same year, on October 10, the first Fair in Ruma took place with the participation of a large number of merchants and tradesmen from all around.
Parallel to the development of the town’s life, the landed estate in Ruma, founded by previously mentioned Baron Marko Pejacevic was functioning well. The landed estate reached its peak in the first half of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century, when various advanced sorts of corn and wheat were produced within the estate. It was alike in the field of the cattle breeding. Numerous medals from various international fairs are a testimony to the work of the estate. The estate was liquidated during the Agrarian Reform after the World War 1.
The end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century was a period of rapid economical and social development of the town. Ruma started to appear like a real city. However, many plans remained uncompleted after the WW1 broke out. In those days, many inhabitants of Ruma found themselves in a war led against their Slavic brothers, so they used to desert the army to a high degree or they tend to avoid the mobilization. Immediately after the war, an Assembly session was held in Ruma on November 24, when all the delegates from the entire region of Srem voted for the incorporation of Srem into Serbia.
The trend of development, somewhat set back in war times, was continued during the 1920s and 1930s. Stores, tradesmen’s and handmade goods workshops are being opened, banks and cinemas are being founded, several printing houses start to print books and newspapers which follow political, economical, cultural and sports life of the town. Based on its economic power (the largest wheat market in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) and the cultural level of its inhabitants, Ruma should have had the status of a city long time before. Nevertheless, Ruma officially gained the status of a city only in 1933.
When the WW2 began, Ruma was one of the centers of the German minority in Vojvodina. Having entered Ruma in April 1941, the German Army occupied the city. In spite of this, many inhabitants of Ruma joined the National Liberation Movement, at first at the nearby Fruska Gora Mountain, and later throughout the entire country, giving their contribution to the anti-fascist struggle. At the moment of the liberation of the city, on October 27, 1944, Ruma had a significantly decreased number of inhabitants, since the larger number of the German minority left the city at the dawn of Liberation.
At the end of this review of the rich history of our city, to crown it all, we should mention some of the notable citizens of Ruma who had distinguished themselves across the borderlines of the district of Ruma and became well-known. They are; Atanasije Stojkovic-scientist, writer and the author of the first textbook of Physics in Serbian, Teodor Filipovic (Boza Grujovic) - the first Secretary of Serbian separate government during the First Serbian Uprising (Praviteljstvujusci Sovjet) at the time of Karadjordje’s Serbia, Jovan and Konstantin Pantelic-painters, Atanasije Teodorovic- the first teacher of Serbian Grammar School, Dimitrije Matic-statesman and legislator, Teodor Tosa Andrejevic Australijanac- musician and many others.