C++ is an "object oriented" programming language created by Bjarne Stroustrup and released in 1985. It implements "data abstraction" using a concept called "classes", along with other features to allow object-oriented programming. Parts of the C++ program are easily reusable and extensible; existing code is easily modifiable without actually having to change the code. C++ adds a concept called "operator overloading" not seen in the earlier OOP languages and it makes the creation of libraries much cleaner.
C++ maintains aspects of the C programming language, yet has features which simplify memory management. Additionally, some of the features of C++ allow low-level access to memory but also contain high level features.
C++ could be considered a superset of C. C programs will run in C++ compilers. C uses structured programming concepts and techniques while C++ uses object oriented programming and classes which focus on data. Read about the History of C and also about the History of C++.
Related Links and Standards
MSDN Online Library
History of C
History of C++
The C++ Programming Language (Bjarne Stroustrup)
The New C++ by Herb Sutter; a must read article for students and developers... catch up with what is happening now to C++.
C/C++ Drafts and Standards
VC++ to Aim at Full ANSI/ISO Compliance? DevX Interview with Herb Sutter
Introducing Visual C++ 6.0 (Microsoft)
What's New in VC++ 6.0 (Microsoft)
Visual C++ 6.0 Snapshot of New Features (Visual C++ Developers Journal)
Hello World (latech.edu)
Press Release:International Standard ISO/IEC 14882, Programming Language - C++
ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG21 - C++
Standards, projects, papers...
Visual C++ Developers Conferences