ADA was chosen in honor of a famous mathmatician, Augusta Ada Lovelace. This is in result from Lovelace's work with Charles Babbage. It was this work that gave her the nickname of "The First Programer"
ADA was created by Dr. Jean Ichbiah at CII-Honeywell-Bull, and a team that he was the head of who lived in France. He designed it for programs that were ment to last for a long amount of time and systems that needed to be embedded in other programs.
Link Used: http://www.adacore.com/adaanswers/