The History of HTML In 1980, physicist Tim Berners-Lee proposed and developed ENQUIRE, a system for CERN researchers to use and share documents. In 1989, Berners-Lee wrote a memo proposing an Internet-based hypertext system. He specified HTML and wrote the browser and server software in late 1990. The first publicly available description of HTML was a document called "HTML Tags", first mentioned on the Internet by Tim Berners-Lee in late 1991. It describes 18 elements comprising the initial, relatively simple design of HTML.