In 2000, permanent Internet connections were at a premium for University of Antwerp students, so Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder set up a wireless bridge between their student dorms to share Hans's ADSL modem connection among eight students. While this was an extremely luxurious situation at that time, something was missing: There was no means to discuss or share simple things.
This inspired Dries to work on a small news site with a built-in web board, allowing the group of friends to leave each other notes about the status of the network, to announce where they were having dinner, or to share some noteworthy news items.
The software did not have a name until the day after Dries moved out after graduation. The group decided to put the internal website online so they could stay in touch, keep sharing interesting findings, and narrate snippets of their personal lives. While looking for a suitable domain name, Dries settled for 'drop.org' after he made a typo to see if the name 'dorp.org' was still available. Dorp is the Dutch word for 'village', which was considered a fitting name for the small community.
Once drop.org was established on the Web, its audience changed as the members began talking about new web technologies, such as moderation, syndication, rating, and distributed authentication. Drop.org slowly turned into a personal experimentation environment, driven by the discussions and flow of ideas. The discussions about these web technologies were tried out on drop.org itself as new additions to the software running the site.
It was only later, in January 2001, that Dries decided to release the software behind drop.org as "Drupal." The purpose was to enable others to use and extend the experimentation platform so that more people could explore new paths for development. The name Drupal, pronounced "droo-puhl," derives from the English pronunciation of the Dutch word "druppel," which means "drop."
To view a complete list of changes to the software since its initial release, see http://api.drupal.org/api/drupal/CHANGELOG.txt/7/source.