Espanyol was founded on 28 October 1900 by Ángel Rodríguez Ruiz (1879–1959), an engineering student at the University of Barcelona. The club’s original home was in the well-off district of Sarrià and was initially known as the Sociedad Española de Football. One year later, the club changed its name to Club Español de Fútbol. Espanyol was the first club in Spain to be formed exclusively by Spanish fans of the game.
The club originally played in bright yellow shirts, with the colour of the shorts being left to the individual player. A friend of the club founder owned a textile business and happened to have an abundance of yellow material left over from a job. In 1910, the club changed its name to Club Deportivo Español and chose blue and white stripes as shirt colours and as the central colours of the club badge. Blue and white was chosen in homage to the colours appearing on the shield of the great Sicilian-Aragonese Admiral Roger de Lluria, who sailed the Mediterranean protecting the interests of the Crown of Aragon in the Middle Ages. The club were successful from the very beginning, winning the Campionat de Catalunya in 1903 and subsequently playing in the Copa del Rey.