This brief history of the European Mathematical Society covers a period of slightly more than eight years, from the founding of the Society in 1990 to the end of 1998. The history was commissioned by the Society in order that an account could be composed before memories had faded, leaving only written records. Inevitably the many and changing participants in the activities to be described will have different views of these activities and their significance. The author has aimed to write an objective account - 'history' is really too grandiose a title - from the perspective of one who was present at, and involved in, all of the Council and Executive Committee meetings of the Society, with the exception of one meeting in Cracow. As is well known, proximity to events does not necessarily ensure freedom from prejudice in reporting - and so others must judge the degree of objectivity here achieved; notwithstanding the aim of impartiality, the author has allowed himself the liberty of an occasional subjective comment where it seemed to be particularly apposite.