The history of relational databases is short. It's been only about 35 years since Edgar Frank Codd (almost always E. F. Codd) first discussed relational databases in IBM Research report RJ599, dated August 16, 1969.
Among the general public, RJ599 might not command the respect or have the cachet of other seminal works, such as The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, or The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin. But in an age that emphasizes information above all else, Codd's RJ599 and his other ground-breaking writings have had as much impact on our lives as the works of these more famous authors. In the few decades since Codd's early articles, the relational database has become the most widely used database model.