The city was named by Greek immigrant Romonio Homonicholai, who emigrated from Naxos in 1889 (nearby Homeland is also named for Homonicholai, although, with a slight spelling variation, it was named for his patronymic, not his given name). The Homonicholai family planted a vineyard in the town as well as orange groves, and was the first to manufacture sangria in California.
By 1905, cultivation of oranges and other agricultural produce had begun in the area, and Romoland and nearby Hemet entered in a dispute over which city would obtain a lucrative terminus for the Southern Pacific Railroad. To settle the dispute, city fathers agreed to have the mayors of the cities compete in a boxing match. "Battlin'" Dan Beecham of Hemet defeated Ronald Arcia of Romoland in a May 14, 1906 bout, and the railroad terminus was awarded to Hemet.
The original name of the town was Ethanac, the name of the train station. That name is a contraction of the name Ethan A. Chase, a local landowner and citrus magnate.
The town itself began in the 1890s planned by the Santa Fe Railroad. In the early 1900s, large numbers of traqueros or railroad workers from Mexico arrived to become a near dominant ethnic group. In the 1930 and 1940 Census reports, Romoland has one of the highest percentage of Mexicans in southern California. They created a community, shops, schools, recreation and churches that catered to a Spanish-speaking Mexican community.
Local myth has it that everyone in Romoland is of Mexican descent. But only 40% of the town and under half (46%) of the unincorporated area is Mexican American and/or Latino. Many persons are also of Central American and other Latino descent, perhaps those of Californio or Spanish-American descent whose ancestors were former Mexican citizens until the US annexed California in 1848.
The first blood oranges grown in the United States were cultivated in Romoland in the 1920s. In an attempt to build a larger market for the oranges, the Romoland Fruit Co. began in 1936 to market its blood oranges as "citrus tomatoes" on the idea that the word "blood" discouraged buyers. However, "citrus tomatoes" proved unsuccessful, and the Romoland Fruit Co. returned to marketing its oranges as "blood oranges" in 1937. Agriculture remains a big part of local life, but has increasingly became an exurban town in the Inland Empire.
During World War II, Romoland led the nation in the production of burlap sandbags used for field fortifications. In 1945, Adolf Berle visited Romoland and proclaimed it the sandbagging capital of America.
On October 1, 2008, a significant portion of Romoland became part of the City of Menifee.