The first cartographic mention of the Black Forest can be found in the Tabula Peutingeriana from the 4th century. The Romans then referred to the Black Forest as Marciana Silvawhat Grenzwald (from Germ. marka, "border") means. The Black Forest probably described the border to the area of the Marcomanni ("border people") who settled east of the Roman Limes. These in turn belonged to the Germanic people of Suebi, from which the later Swabians derived. The colonization of the Black Forest was not carried out by the Romans, who created the Kinzigtalstraße, but only by the Alemanni. These first settled and colonized the valley areas by z. B. from the Baar from the former settlement boundary, the so-called "Buntsandsteingrize" crossed. Soon afterwards, higher and higher areas and adjacent forests were colonized, so that the first settlements in the area of the Buntsandstein were already at the end of the 10th century. This includes, for example, Rötenbach, which is first mentioned in 819.
Some of the uprisings (including the Bundschuh movement) that preceded the German Peasants' War started in the Black Forest in the 16th century. A further uprising of the farmers took place in the two following centuries due to the saltpeter riots in the Hotzenwald.
Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden-Baden (1655–1707, also known as “Türkenlouis” because of his services and awards in the war against the Turks outside Vienna) had baroque entrenchments built at the end of the 17th century to protect against enemy invasions by France. Especially at pass crossings near Gersbach in the southern Black Forest there are well-preserved and researched weir and ramparts.
From the 1960s on in particular, the Black Forest provided a backdrop for many films and television series, including some films with Roy Black, and later in the 1980s for the TV series Black Forest Clinic.
On December 26, 1999, hurricane Lothar raged in the Black Forest and caused major forest damage, especially in the spruce monocultures