The first college was Peterhouse founded in 1284 by Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely. The second-oldest college is King's Hall which was founded in 1317. Most colleges were founded during the fifteenth century. They are /Michaelhouse, /Clare College, /Pembroke College, /Gonville Hall, /Trinity Hall, /Corpus Christi College, King's, Queens' and St Catharine's. During those early times the colleges were founded so that their students would pray for the souls of the founders. The colleges of Jesus, Christ's and St John's were a result of the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century. The first colleges for women were Girton College in 1869 and Newnham College in 1872. The first women students were examined in 1882 but attempts to make women full members of the university did not succeed until 1947, 20 years later than at Oxford. The above is not a complete list of the Colleges.
Some famous Cambridge scholars:
See the official web site at http://www.cam.ac.uk/