Risotto is a dish first served in Italy in the 16th century, when rice was introduced from neighboring Mediterranean cuisines, and gained popularity in Milan. Risotto was served in the United States in the 1800s, but didn’t get popular until after WWII (along with pizza). The 1980s are also a time when this dish became really popular and faddish in the US.
There are plenty of other Italian rice varieties that can be used instead of Arborio rice (like Carnaroli or Vialone Nano), but I’ve found Arborio is the easiest to find. Calrose or other short-grain rices may work as well, but may not have the same creamy consistency as their Italian counterparts and may break down into mush before you’re done cooking them.