Found this interesting piece of information about why accidentally intel chips are little-endian:

The ia32 is a little-endian architecture. When a chip is designed the choice between these two possibilities is pretty much arbitrary. In the case of the ia32, the decision was forced by considerations of compatibility, since all previous Intel chips are also little-endian, and Intel did not want to have incompatible data layouts between different chips, because otherwise transition from one chip to another would be more complicated. If you trace the history of Intel chips ( has a nice account of this history), the very original chip was the 4004. The 4004 was little-endian, because it was the product of a research project which aimed to show that a single chip could duplicate the capabilities of an existing computer. The computer chosen happened to be little-endian, and the reason for that was interesting. This was from the early days of computing (over forty years ago), and the machine they were copying had delay line memories. This memory technology basically stores data on a rotary electronic device very much like a hard disk, in that you have to wait for the data stream to rotate till you can access the byte you want. When you are doing multi-byte additions, it is convenient to access the least significant byte first, so that you can propagate carries to more significant bytes. This makes a little endian arrangement more efficient, since otherwise you would have to wait a rotation between bytes.