Karaman has been an important settlement for about 10.000 years due to its geographic location, its climate and plant cover.
After the excavations and surface researches in the village of Süleymanhacı, the tumulus of Pınarbaşı, it has been found out that Karaman was a settlement in the epi-paleolithic period. In the excavations made in Canhasan I and Canhasan III tumuli, within the region of Karaman the village of Alaçatı and Pınarbaşı tumulus, findings important to the human history from the neolithic period were discovered.
Research done on the surface of Kilbasan Sisan Tumulus and other tumuli, brought about many findings from the Bronze Age. During the Hittite Period Karaman was in the domain of a semi-independent state called Arzava. The city was a significant centre for trade and army at that time.
On Mount Karadağ, on the hill of Malahaç and Kızıldağ are hieroglyphic inscriptions from the Hittite period. Furthermore, at a point on Kızıldağ looking over the plain and the Lake of Hotamış is a relief of Young King Hartapus of Hittite.
In 7 th BC the city was invaded by the Phrygians and in 6 th BC by the Lycians, at the end of the 6 th BC century the city was dominated by the Persians. During the classical period Karaman, in the domain of Lykaonia was called Laranda. In 322 BC the successors of Alexander the Great, Perdikkas and Philippos destroyed and plundered Laranda during the Hellenistic Period. Later it was under reign of Antigon and Selerkos and remained under the Anatolian Hellenistic sovereignity until 1 st BC. Laranda was under the dominance of the ruler of the local kingdom Derbe during the Roman Period and after the victory of the Galatian King Amyntos became a part of Galatia. During this period Laranda was an important trade centre bound to the Lykaonia Union. It belonged to the Roman and later Byzantine Empire until it was captured by the Seljuks in the early 12th century.
Karaman was occupied by Frederick Barbarossa in 1190 and by Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia between 1211 and 1216 and taken by Seljuks state soon. In order to secure the Mediterranean coasts of the Seljuks state, Sultan Alaeddin Keykubat of the Anatolian Seljuks placed Karamanoğulları, who came from the Avşar tribe of the Türkmen (Oğuz) in Karaman, Ermenek, Mut, Gülnar, Silifke, Anamur, Mersin, Alanya and Antalya. Due to the weakening of the Anatolian Seljuk State and especially the defeat to the Mongols in the war of Kösedağ, the Mongol calamity started in Anotolia. The Anatolian Seljuk State, which weakened after 1260 and could not dominate the region, was replaced by the Mongol sovereignty. The Mongol occupation and the disorder raising in every corner of Anatolia led to the foundation of a state by Karamanoğulları, who were more crowded than the other principalities and skillful in military affairs.
With the escape from Seljuks and Mongol sovereignity and the participation of volunteers, Karamanoğulları gained strength and under the leadership of Kerimuddin, Karaman, son of a Türkmen Sufist Nure Sofi, and declared their independence and founded the Karamanoğlu principality in 1256. After the fall of the Anatolian Seljuk State in 1308 Karamanoğuları dominated Konya and its vicinity. Because they owned the Seljuk capital they claimed to be heirs of the state and struggled to gain a political uniou in Anatolia. For this reason, they fought against the Mongols for many years. Their domain reached the Mediterranean coast. In the early 14th century Karamanoğulları was the strongest principality in Anatolia. Its domain consisted of Karaman, Konya, Sivas, Kayseri, Niğde, Adana, Antalya, Silifke, Anamur, Mut, Ermenek, Gülnar, Alanya, Gaziantep, Isparta and Beyşehir. Another strong principality at that period was the Ottoman Principality. From the 14th century, these two principalities came face to face. Wars between the two principalities took almost 150 years. After several wars during the reign of Sultan Mehmet ll (conqueror) the Karamanoglu principality came to an end in 1467 and became a part of Ottoman Empire.At first, Larende became a Sanjak Center bound to the province of Konya and during the reign of Sultan Suleyman(Great Suleyman) a Country Center. After the declaration of the Republic of Turkey , the name of Larende which was subordinate to the province of Konya was changed to Karaman. With the act number 3589 of 15th June in 1989, it became the 70th province of Turkey.