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The Sega Master System (a.k.a. Mark III in Japan) was Sega's step into the gaming world, in 1986. Sega also released the 'Sega Master System II' in 1991, to serve as a 'budget console' to those who could not afford a Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, which was initially released 2 years before, in 1989.
The original Sega Master System played cartridges and cards, the subsequent Master System II and Genesis only played cartridges, though the master systems could not play Genesis cartridges, the Genesis could play master system cartridges through the use of a add-on called a Power Base Converter, which was sold seperatley.
Sega announced the stop of production in 1995, although a Brazilian company called TecToy continued to make ports for the system, and even a rare 'Sega Master System III', until today with 131 games in memory and without cartridge slot. The Sega Game Gear was a portable Master System, that although similar, had a larger color palette and a smaller screen.
Sega Master System At Wikipedia
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