Böblingen was founded by Count Wilhelm von Tübingen-Böblingen in 1253. Württemberg acquired the town in 1357, and on 12 May 1525 one of the bloodiest battles of the German Peasants' War took place in Böblingen. Jörg Truchsess von Waldburg attacked a force of 15,000 armed peasants; 3,000 were killed. By the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, the population of Böblingen had been reduced to 600.
After the establishment of the Kingdom of Württemberg, Böblingen became the seat of an Oberamt (administrative unit) in 1818. The town was connected to the railroad network in 1879, allowing industrialization to take place. In the context of administrative reform in 1938, Böblingen Oberamt became Böblingen Landkreis (district).
During the First World War an airbase was established. It went into service on 16 August 1915. It had a significant impact on the further development of the city. In 1925 the airbase became the Landesflughafen (state airport) of Baden-Württemberg called Böblingen Airport. The aircraft pioneer Hanns Klemm (1885–1961) established his company "Klemm Leichtflugzeugbau GmbH" ("Klemm Light Aircraft Company") next to it. Until the Second World War it was the major employer in Böblingen.
During the Second World War the town had a Luftwaffe airbase and military barracks. On September 1, 1939 (the day the war began) the airbase was the home station for the I/JG 52 (1st Group of the Jagdgeschwader 52) flying the Bf109 E-1 fighter aircraft.
On the night of October 7, 1943 during World War II, Allied air forces dropped 408 incendiary bombs and 35 high explosive bombs killing 20 men, 12 women, 12 children and wounding 200 people. 1,735 people lost their homes and 70 percent of the old town was destroyed. In July 1944 another attack followed, killing 36 more civilians.
In 1962, Böblingen was designated a Große Kreisstadt (major district town). Its current boundaries were established in 1971 when it was merged with the municipality of Dagersheim.