The ancestors of Komis used to live in the same areas as Udmurts, Maris and Mordvins⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠. Komis started to migrate further north to their present living areas in the 800s. It is, however, possible that Mordvins, Maris and Udmurts had been in contact with each other all the way until the 1200s.

In the 1200s–‍1400s, the Komi region was under the Novgorod rule. In the late 1400s, silver ore deposits were discovered in the area, which was then taken over by the Principality of Moscow.

Komis were well-known merchants travelling between the Baltic Sea and Siberia, selling items such as fur and fabrics. This means they had contacts with the Finnic as well as Siberian peoples.

During the Soviet era, several prison camps were established in Komi. Many of the prisoners also ended up living in Komi, which is why today Komis are a minority in their titular republic.