The Oxford English etymological dictionary defines statistics as follows:
statistics  first applied to the political science concerned with the facts of a state or community XVIII; all derived immediately from German statistisch adj., statistik sb.; whence statistician XIX.
Statistics is concerned with exploring, summarising, and making inferences about the state of complex systems. As summarised in Table 1.1, the development of statistics in Europe was strongly motivated by the need to make sense of the large amount of data collected by population surveys in the emerging nation states. At the same time, the mathematical foundations for statistics advanced significantly due to breakthroughs in probability theory inspired by games of chance (gambling). For more information about the history of statistics refer to the books by Johnson and Kotz (1998) and Kotz and Johnson (1993).
