Kawah Ijen is a composite volcano located at the easternmost part of Java island in Indonesia and hosts the largest natural acidic lake in the world. We have gathered all available historical reports on Kawah Ijen’s activity since 1770 with the purpose of reviewing the temporal evolution of its activity. Most of these observations and studies have been conducted from a geochemical perspective and in punctuated scientific campaigns. Starting in 1991, the seismic activity and a set of volcanic lake parameters began to be weekly available. We present a database of those measurements that, combined with historical reports, allow us to review each eruption/unrest that occurred during the last two centuries. As of 2010, the volcanic activity is monitored by a new multi-disciplinary network, including digital seismic stations, and lake level and temperature measurements. This detailed monitoring provides an opportunity for better classifying seismic events and forecasting volcanic unrest at Kawah Ijen, but only with the understanding of the characteristics of this volcanic system gained from the historical review presented here.