2001-Wikipedia is launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger

January 15, 2023

A magnifying glass on the start page of Wikipedia.

Today Wikipedia turns 22 years old! For 22 years people have found a seemingly infinite source of information at their fingertips thanks to the volunteers of the site known as “Wikipedians.” Wikipedia currently boasts over 60 million articles.

Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger officially registered Wikipedia as a domain on January 15, 2001. The two were initially working on a project called “Nupedia” before switching gears and launching the online encyclopedia built with peer-verified content from external elements known as Wikipedia. Nupedia was originally supposed to run concurrently with Wikipedia. However, Nupedia was eventually absorbed by Wikipedia. Although the platform was built entirely on the contributions of volunteer writers and editors, it attracted millions of students and learners using it as a reference site.

Richard Stallman proposed a similar open-sourced online encyclopedia in 1998, bringing the concept that would birth Wikipedia to life. In the beginning, Jimmy and Larry hoped Nupedia would complement Wikipedia. Nupedia would be an online encyclopedia edited only by experts in their fields. However, the popularity of Wikipedia took off quickly, and the concept of Nupedia as its own resource was dropped.

In a few months, Wikipedia quickly overtook Nupedia offering millions of articles in numerous languages. Today, Wikipedia has over 60 million articles available in various languages. Language diversity made the site more accessible to users worldwide. Wikipedia receives over 117 million visitors from the United States alone, according to data recorded by Comscore. It is also the largest and most-read reference source in history.

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