Literally translate to "Gentle Arts" in Japanese. In theory created more than 2000 years before Christ in India, by a monk who did not have a weapon to defeat themselves from barbarian attacks. The influences spread to China and eventually had taken root to Japan. The arts were elaborated and used in the Samurai Era to be the first martial arts ever known in Japan. This traditional arts involved in striking, throwing, or grappling. Hence the disciple of karate, judo, and aikido.
Arguably the most influential person in history of jiu-jitsu is Mitsuyo "Esai" Maeda