This article is from the Esperanto FAQ, by Mike Urban firstname.lastname@example.org and Yves Bellefeuille email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
Esperanto is a language designed to facilitate communication between
people of different lands and cultures. It was first published in 1887
by Dr. L. L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) under the pseudonym "Dr. Esperanto",
meaning "one who hopes", and this is the name that stuck as the name of
the language itself.
Esperanto is considerably easier to learn than national languages, since
its design is far simpler and more regular. Also, unlike national
languages, Esperanto allows communication on an equal footing between
people, with neither having the usual cultural advantage favouring a
Esperanto's purpose is not to replace any other language, but to
supplement them: Esperanto would be used as a neutral language when
speaking with someone who doesn't know one's own language. The use of
Esperanto would also protect minority languages, which would have a
better chance of survival than in a world dominated by a few powerful