Python was conceived in the late 1980s, and its implementation began in December 1989 by Guido van Rossum at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands as a successor to the ABC language (itself inspired by SETL) capable of exception handling and interfacing with the Amoeba operating system. Van Rossum remains Python's principal author. His continuing central role in Python's development is reflected in the title given to him by the Python community: Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL).
On the origins of Python, Van Rossum wrote in 1996
...In December 1989, I was looking for a "hobby" programming project that would keep me occupied during the week around Christmas. My office ... would be closed, but I had a home computer, and not much else on my hands. I decided to write an interpreter for the new scripting language I had been thinking about lately: a descendant of ABC that would appeal to Unix/C hackers. I chose Python as a working title for the project, being in a slightly irreverent mood (and a big fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus).
— Guido van Rossum
Python 2.0 was released on 16 October 2000 and had many major new features, including a cycle-detecting garbage collector and support for Unicode. With this release, the development process became more transparent and community-backed.
Python 3.0 (initially called Python 3000 or py3k) was released on 3 December 2008 after a long testing period. It is a major revision of the language that is not completely backward-compatible with previous versions. However, many of its major features have been backported to the Python 2.6.x and 2.7.x version series, and releases of Python 3 include the 2to3 utility, which automates the translation of Python 2 code to Python 3.
Python 2.7's end-of-life date was initially set at 2015, then postponed to 2020 out of concern that a large body of existing code could not easily be forward-ported to Python 3. In January 2017, Google announced work on a Python 2.7 to Go transcompiler to improve performance under concurrent workloads.
Python is an interpreted high-level programming language for general-purpose programming. Created by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991, Python has a design philosophy that emphasizes code readability, notably using significant whitespace. It provides constructs that enable clear programming on both small and large scales.