Ball games that involved use of the hand date all the way back to 2000 B.C in Egypt. You can find scriptures of Priests of the temple of Osiris depicting them striking a ball with their hand. There are also sites of ball courts found all over Nicaragua dating back to 1500 B.C. It is amazing to see variations of this sport existing well over 2000 years on this planet, yet it isn't as popular as Basketball or Football.
The version of Handball that we know today was brought to the states by an Irish immigrant by the name of Brendan Hart back in the late 1800s. The Irish sport is known as "Gaelic Handball". It can be compared to racquetball (minus the racquets). The American version of handball is identical to "Gaelic Handball" and eventually we now know the the sport as just "American Handball" in states (or just handball). You can now find over 2000 handball courts in the NYC alone, and the sport continues to grow in the concrete jungle.