If you haven't been exposed to much, this is a normal question, and there have been way worse ones put to the forum, believe me.
The design behind the 1911 style pistol was the brain child of, I believe, probably the smartest firearms designer to ever walk the Earth, John Moses Browning.
John Browning was one of three brothers, sons of a famous gunsmith, who inherited his shop and reputation when their father died in 1879. John was regarded as a design genious, having designed his first single shot rifle at the tender age of 14!
He went on to design production weapons for Winchester, FN ( He designed the first autoloading shotgun that Winchester passed on and FN snapped up, and Colt including the 1895 Colt Peacekeeper and the B.A.R. - Browning Automatic Rifle.
The 1911 automatic pistol, quite possibly the most famous pistol in the world today, was originally designed late in the 1890's. It was not put into production on a wide range format until some years later however.
During the 1899 and 1900 small arms handgun tests, the US Military adopted a brand called a DWM Luger chambered in 7.65mm. This was in service, in one form or another, up until about 1904 ( possibly 1906 depending on your source of reference ).
In 1904 the US Military, led by the statement from Colonel John Thompson, a veteran of the Phillipine-American War, that the new service pistol should be of "no less than .45 caliber" which led to open pistol tests in the summer of 1906. These were open trials, but only six manufacturers submitted designs ( Colt, Bergmann, DWM, Savage Arms Company, Knoble, Webley, and White-Merril )
Much speculation has been written about the tests, talk of slanted scales, kickbacks, unfair testing procedures, the usual complaints concerning government testing. The end result was that Colt won with the John Browning Designed Automatic Colt Pistol ( which the round designed was named .45 caliber - ACP )
It was officially adopted by the US Military in March of 1911 and dubbed Model of 1911 - or M1911. It has been in service, in the US Military, in some form, shape or configuration since 1911! Quite a feat for a design from a guy who, reportedly, never got past the 8th grade of formal education.
Generally you will hear more of the "elder" community and those in military and law enforcement experience speak of the 1911. This is not a young gun, and it has listed "drawbacks" like the fact that it will only hold 8 rounds in a basic magazine, but it is the grandfather of every modern autoloading pistol - and as I own several variations of Mr. Browning's classic design, I dare say it's a beautiful piece of art and I am a HUGE
fanboy of him and his work.