WordPress was started in May 2003 by founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. It is an offshoot of code they had written for B2 and Cafelog. It was created in PHP in order to be used with MySQL rather than more expensive, and overhead heavy, database programs.
WordPress was created to allow anyone who wanted to the ability to create and maintain a blog without any prior knowledge of HTML of other internet programming languages.
By keeping the code open-source (meaning free to use and edit to anyone) it has become the most widely used Content Management System (CMS) available. As of April 2013 WordPress had been downloaded over 18 million times.
Learn more about how you can design your own WordPress site