Lua was created in 1993 by Roberto Ierusalimschy, Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo, and Waldemar Celes, members of the Computer Graphics Technology Group at PUC-Rio, the Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. Versions of Lua prior to version 5.0 were released under a license similar to the BSD license. From version 5.0 onwards, Lua has been licensed under the MIT License.
Some of its closest relatives include Icon for its design and Python for its ease of use by non-programmers. In an article published in Dr. Dobb's Journal, Lua's creators also state that Lisp and Scheme with their single, ubiquitous data structure mechanism (the list) were a major influence on their decision to develop the table as the primary data structure of Lua.
Lua has been used in many commercial applications, such as Far Cry, Garry's Mod, Supreme Commander, World of Warcraft, Sonic the Hedgehog and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, as well as non-commercial applications, such as Multi Theft Auto and Angband and its variants.
Lua can be embedded in Mediawiki, the software behind Wikipedia and Wikiversity, and has been enabled on Wikiversity. Thus the course material can be used directly within the Wikiversity environment.
Lua is designed to be extensible, i.e users are able to add new keywords, concepts, and structures to the source language.