The cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) is radiation left over from the big bang. When the universe was very young, just as space became transparent to light, electromagnetic energy would have propagated through space at a much shorter wavelength. Nowadays, the temperature of space has fallen to approximately 2.7 K (that’s 2.7 K above absolute zero!) and, using Wien’s Law, we can confirm that the peak wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation is so long that the background radiation lies in the microwave portion of the em spectrum.
The CMB was first detected in 1964 by Richard Woodrow Wilson and Arno Allan Penzias, who worked at Bell Laboratories in the USA.