In 2011, Codeigniter was the most popular web framework used by developers. It was easy to learn and well documented but it lacked certain essential features such as user authorization and authentication. Taylor Otwell started the development of Laravel to provide an alternative of the Codeigniter framework.
CodeIgniter did not offer such great features like support for built-in customer authentication and proper user authorization. On 9th of July, 2011 Laravel released its first beta version, and later in same month Laravel 1 got released. Other than authentication, Laravel also has built-in support for localization, views, dealing with sessions, routing the request to the specific controller and other amazing features.
Laravel 1 released in June 2011, included built-in support for localisation, models, views, sessions, routing.
Laravel 2 released in September 2011, removed the Laravel 1's issues and follows the MVC pattern and considered as a true MVC framework.
Laravel 3 released in February 2012 with a new features including the command-line interface (CLI) named Artisan, built-in support for more database management systems, database migrations as a form of version control for database layouts, support for handling events, and a packaging system called Bundles.
Laravel 4, codenamed Illuminate, was released in May 2013. It was made as a complete rewrite of the Laravel framework, migrating its layout into a set of separate packages distributed through Composer, which serves as an application-level package manager.
Laravel 5 was released in February 2015 as a result of internal changes that ended up in renumbering the then-future Laravel 4.3 release. New features in the Laravel 5 release include support for scheduling periodically executed tasks through a package called Scheduler, an abstraction layer called Flysystem that allows remote storage to be used in the same way as local file systems, improved handling of package assets through Elixir, and simplified externally handled authentication through the optional Socialite package. Laravel 5 also introduced a new internal directory tree structure for developed applications.
Laravel 5.1, released in June 2015, was the first release of Laravel to receive long-term support (LTS). New LTS versions were planned for one every two years.
Laravel 5.2 released on December 2015, added new features are authentication scaffolding, array validation, server monitoring, and Laravel cashier.
Laravel 5.3 was released on August 23, 2016. The new features in 5.3 are focused on improving developer speed by adding additional out of the box improvements for common tasks.
Laravel 5.4 was released on January 24, 2017, with many new features like Laravel Dusk, Laravel Mix, Blade Components and Slots, Markdown Emails, Automatic Facades, Route Improvements, Higher Order Messaging for Collections, and many others.
Laravel 6.0 was released on September 3, 2019, shift blueprint code generation, introducing semantic versioning, compatibility with Laravel Vapor, improved authorization responses, improved job middleware, lazy collections, and sub-query improvements. The frontend scaffolding was removed from the main package and moved into the laravel/ui package.