There is a great piece at get-piano-lessons.com on the history of the piano as we know it.
Did you know that it was developed from the the harpsichord?
Invented in 1709 by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Italy the “Pianoforte” as we know it was born.
You can read all about this in the article here.
Check out this interesting vidoeo on the history of the piano