The "World Wide Web" (WWW or briefly Web) was invented at CERN by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. It was developed here until 1994. On April 30, 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be be freely usable by anyone. After this date, the Web has developed very quickly, and the number of web sites increase rapidly, e.g. in the February 2006 a Web server survey found about 75 million Web-servers.
In 1994, Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in collaboration with CERN. The main activity of this organization is to create WWW standards. You can have some details in the article "WWW standards and conformity".
The first Web server
The development of the Web was the key technology that popularized the Internet around the world. Indeed, the Web and the Internet are not synonymous. The Internet (or the Net) is a massive network of networks. It interconnects millions of computers together globally. It uses a lot of languages to transfer information over it known as protocols. The Internet was created in 1969 with the implementation of ARPANET (Advanced Projects Agency Network) in the US.
There are also others ways that information can be propagated over the Internet, like e-mail, Usenet newsgroups, instant messaging, etc. However the Web is remains the major source of information exchange.