Originally, La Carlota was an agricultural settlement. The people grew rice for consumption, and tobacco for export. The earliest known settlement within the jurisdiction of La Carlota was along the banks of Candaguit River . It was only in 1856 when historians mentioned about the village of Mampunay , and the shift of the two settlements in an area which the parish priest appointed to be the area from settlements, the barrio of "SIMANCAS".
In 1856, the barrio of Simancas was placed under jurisdiction of the Municipality of Valladolid . On July 23, 1864 , however, the people of San Enrique, Pontevedra and Simancas were taken away from Valladolid to form the town of San Enrique . On October 15, 1869, the King of Spain issued a Royal Decree elevating Pontevedra into a parish and Simancas into a town. In 1871, King Carlos of Spain issued another Royal Decree changing the name of the town Simancas to La Carlota.
The decree was issued upon the request of Spanish "CARLISTAS", who were followers of King Carlos of Spain . On December 4, 1876 , a Royal Order was issued creating La Carlota into a parish.
So well known was La Carlota's growth that in 1881, one on the only two offices of the Bureau of Forestry in Negros Island was established in La Granja with jurisdiction over-all agricultural lands. The bureau's other offices was places in Bacolod . When the Government decided the two agricultural model farms, one in Luzon and other in Visayas, La Carlota was chosen. A royal decree was issued on November 15, 1881, creating the LA GRANJA 'S AGRICOLAS, but it was only on July 8, 1884 , that the decree was promulgated and La Granja in barrio Cubay, La Carlota was opened. On September 13 of the same year, the model farm was at last installed in this growing, progressive place.
By the 1890's, La Carlota's agricultural advances had became a model for farms in Negros . During this period the sugar planters of La Carlota had become sophisticated enough to organize a Circulo de Agricultores, the first organization in the island to under take an anti-locust campaign, and to participate actively during the 1898 revolution.
The 1890's were important year in the history not only La Carlota, but of the whole Negros Island as well. These years saw the beginning of the "LEVANTAMIENTO" or uprising against Spain which later turn led to the capitulation of the Spanish authorities in Bacolod to the revolutionary forces in 1896. The division of the Negros Island into Negros Occidental and Oriental also took place during this decade in 1890. On the literary side, the years 1889 comprised a brilliant literary period for La Carlota, with vernacular and Spanish novelist and poet Adelina Gurrea gaining prominence in the literary field.
At the turn of the century, specifically from 1901 to 1906, La Carlota figured prominently in the active anti-American reaction in Negros Occidental. The place produced the best known leader of the Babaylans of southern Negros Occidental in the person of Papa Isio, who continued the Negrenses fight against the American operating in the district of La Carlota, Isabela, Kabankalan and La Castellana. Local folks referred to them as the "ENTRENCIRADOS".
The American period saw the construction of a Gabaldon type school building in 1908. The Central Azucarera de La Carlota, considered as the biggest Sugar Mill tandem in Asia , was constructed by the Elizalde Family in 1918.
The period 1918 to 1980's were lustrous years of La Carlota. The imposing Presidencia Building , the seat of the local government, was constructed in 1934, and since then had become an imposing landmark of the city. In 1948 the La Carlota City High School building was constructed, and in 1950, the first and the biggest ever Carnival Fair was held. To top this all, La Carlota produced three world boxing champions: Pancho Villa , world flyweight champion from 1923 to 1925; Small Montana , world flyweight crown holder from 1935 to 1938; and Little Dado (Eleuterio Zapanta) 1938-1941.
A most important event of the 1960's was the creation of La Carlota into a chartered city, on June 19, 1965 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4585. In 1967, the La Carlota City College was established, the only tertiary school operated by a Local Government Unit. From a scattered settlement, it became one of the major sugar producing cities of the country. Its importance as a growth center has likewise been notable in the Province of Negros Occidental.