Every year on July 26, fans of the world's first artificial language celebrate Esperanto Day. This sign system was created by the oculist Ludwig Markovich Zamenhof (Ludwig Zamenhof, 1859-1917). He was born in Bialystok - now this city is located on the territory of Poland, and in the 19th century it was part of the Russian Empire. Zamenhof's neighbors were Russians, Belarusians, Poles, Jews, Germans, Lithuanians.
Communication with people of different nationalities prompted the young man to create a language that could be understood by any person on the planet. Ludwig Zamenhof published his first work under the pseudonym Esperanto. This name, which translates as "Hopeful", soon became the name of the language itself.
It is difficult to say how many people currently use Esperanto, since no official statistics are kept. The Ethnology website estimates the number of people who speak the language at 2 million. According to this source, several hundred people - mostly children of international marriages - speak Esperanto as their first language.