The town of Slatina was first mentioned on January 20, 1368 in an official document issued by Vladislav I Vlaicu, Prince of Wallachia. The document stated that merchants from the Transylvanian city of Braşov would not pay customs when passing through Slatina. The word Slatina is of Slavic origin, stemming from Slam-tina, "salted land" or "salty water"; a small minority promotes the theory that the term originates in the Latin "Salatina".
Alro Slatina, one of the largest aluminum producing factories in Southeastern Europe, is located in the city. Other companies based in Slatina include ALPROM (which, like ALRO, is a subsidiary of MARCOGROUP), Altur (engine set manufacturer), Pirelli Tires Romania (tire-manufacturer), Cord Romania (steel cord for tires), and Benteler.
One of the oldest private businesses in Romania is the Slatina-based pastry shop La atletul albanez ("The Albanian Athlete").