Knjazevac area is settled during prehistoric times, the evidenced of this are settlements of Baranica, Škodrino polje, Dubrava, etc., horsman cave drawing in Gabrovnica and other archaeological findings. The ancient chronicler Pliny (II century AD) records this territory as a part of the Roman province of Moesia in which live Mezi people, Thracians, Dardanians, Tribals, Timahs, who had been formed, in symbiosis with the Slavic tribes, the local indigenous population of Timočani, called Putuklije.
Roman fort Timacum Minus, near village of Ravna, with excavated walls, parts of the civil settlement, the rich necropolis, explains the history of the period of Knjazevac area until the Middle Ages. In the town were found the remains of the other famous, Late Roman town, Timacum maius.
In the Roman road map from the IV century Knježevac was written under the name of Timac Maiori, a settlement that is built on the foundations of the fortress Veliki Timok on the Zdanije hill(the present church, "St. George").
From the period of medieval century are towns Ravna and Koželj, Church of the Virgin in Gornja Kamenica and Holy Trinity Monastery in Donja Kamenica, wich were built in the XV century, and the first track of the name Gurgusovac. In some older literature this place were called Kolumbija, it comes from the Latin word columba, meaning pigeon and a true translation is Golubac. This term has no archaeological or written confirmation. In the same time with this name was used, for a long time, name Gurgusovac.This name is mentioned in the Turkish census from 1455. Country legend says that this is the name given by Grivas pigeons.
The Turks conquered this area 1396 and annexed it to Vidinski pašaluk. From the time of the Turkish rule there are little information from this area. Records from the VII century preciselly record Gurgusovac as a military fort with palisades and a cannon, with 46 Turkish and 120 Christian homes.
First Serbian Rebellion came in Knjaževac area at 1807 when Hajduk Veljko ateccked Gurgusovac, but he could not conquer it until the Serbian-Russian victory in Malajnica. After the Serbian defeat in Čegar, Turks again conquered Gurgusovac. With the capitualation of Serbia 1813, capitulated Gurgusovac, which was again connected Vidinski pašaluk, until the liberation from the Turks and its association the Serbia 1833. The town inherited Gurgusovac Tower, the prison for political prisoners, known as "The Serbian Bastille". The tower was burned by order of Prince Miloš Obrenović, so in his honor, the citizens 1859.change the name of town in Knjaževac.
Difficult economic situation after the war and new taxes for railroad Belgrade - Niš and for military weapons, as well as immediate political situation in the country, led to a revolt Timočka buna 1883.godine. The immediate cause of revolt was collection of weapons from the national army and the rebellion swept Knjaževac and Knjaževac discrict in October 1883., and one of the initiators of the rebellion were Aca Stanojević from Knjaževac.
People from Knjaževac were good fighters through all the wars that affected this region, as the Serbo-Bulgarian War, Balkans, World War I. During the withdrawal of Serbian military 1915. they were particularly emphasized in the battles for the defense of Belgrade. XIV regiment within the Army II in breakthrough of Salonika Front in 1918 in crossed the Drina river as the vanguard, and it first came to Sarajevo, and reached the Adriatic Sea. After the war flag of the XIV regiment was awarded by Karadjordje Star.
The period between the two wars will be remembered by people who live in Knjaževac in the sign of the development of the municipality, opening of different craft shops and workshops, as well as the industry's first capacity: tanneries, brick wine cellar, so that Knjaževac gets all the elements of the urban environment.
World War II in Knjaževac started with demonstrations against the signing of the pact of association of Yugoslavia with the Tripartite Pact on March 25/27 1941. and the occupation of the 11th April 1941. by Germany and the occupation Budžak by Bulgaria. After a long battles with the Bulgarians and Germans, Knjaževac finally released on 10. October 1944.
The rapid development started in 1960 when the started clothing industry "Branka Dinić" shoe factory "Leda", tractors and machinery industry IMT, Timok furniture industry "Tina", a wine cellar became the "Džervin.
From all of this we can say that the period since 1970.until 1985.were the most important in current development of Knjaževca in all elements of economic and social development. During this period, were build some buildings which are symbols of Knjaževac, namely: the Cultural Center, Health Center, Kindergarten, and kindergarten network, several apartment blocks, and, as for the cultural community of Knjazevac is best known one national festival, the Festival of Youth Culture of Serbia, which was established 1962nd year, which continues until today.