Python Origins

Peter Hansen peter at engcorp.com
Wed Dec 6 06:46:50 CET 2000


Nigel wrote:
> 
>  I am doing some research and I would be grateful if anybody could give
> me some history on the origins of Python.
> 
> --
> Worker
> Disk Drive Computer Books
> http://disk.vstorecomputers.com

Sounds like an interesting and useful endeavor.  This might give you a
good start:

Python is actually a scripting language derived from the artificial
(human) language Esperanto, which was created by Ludwig Zamenhof over
100 years ago and first published in 1887.  (Esperanto was designed to
be extraordinarily easy to learn *relative* to existing "natural"
languages and has grown to have a following of hundreds of thousands of
fluent speakers.)

The headquarters of the World Esperanto Association is headquartered in
Rotterdam, Netherlands.  As it happens Python's creator, Guido van
Rossum, is also from the Netherlands, where his exposure to Esperanto
(still widely spoken in that country) led him to attempt to bring the
same clarity of design and ease of learning to the computer world.  His
efforts culminated in the 1991 release of Python, precisely 104 years to
the day after Esperanto was first published!

Similar efforts have been made in the past, and even more recently,
including an attempt to derive a computer language from Latin, on the
assumption that if it worked with Esperanto it must surely be just as
effective to use such a flexible language as Latin.  The result of that
effort was a language called Perl.  See, for example,
http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~damian/papers/HTML/Perligata.html for
further historical information about this.

As others have suggested, a quick search with any search engine would
turn up similar information, but I'm happy to give you a head start. 
Good luck with your project!

Cheers! ;)



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