 Prehistoric

History
 Africa
 Age of Discovery
 Ancient Egypt
 Ancient Greece
 Ancient Middle East
 Archaeology
 Aztec, Inca & Maya
 British history
 British kings and queens
 LET'S EXPLORE British history
 Castles & knights
 China
 Europe
 Explorers
 Famous leaders
 Famous women
 LET'S EXPLORE Famous people
 India
 Ireland
 Islamic world
 Japan
 Jewish history
 Latin America
 Modern history
 Mongols
 North America
 LET'S EXPLORE American history
 Oceania
 Pirates & galleons
 Romans
 Russia
 Southeast Asia
 Vikings
 World history
 LET'S EXPLORE Ancient worlds
 LET'S EXPLORE World history
 Culture
 Geography
 Space
 Technology
 Science
 Life
 Earth
Mathematics
CITE
We have made every effort to follow citation style rules, but there may be some minor differences. If in doubt, please refer to the appropriate citation style manual.
History of mathematics. (2013). In Qfiles Encyclopedia, Science, Mathematics. Retrieved from
https://www.qfiles.com/science/mathematics/historyofmathematics
"History of mathematics." Science, Mathematics, Qfiles Encyclopedia, 17 Oct. 2013.
https://www.qfiles.com/science/mathematics/historyofmathematics.
Accessed 11 Dec. 2019.
History of mathematics 2013. Science, Mathematics. Retrieved 11 December 2019, from
https://www.qfiles.com/science/mathematics/historyofmathematics
Science, Mathematics, s.v. "History of mathematics," accessed December 11, 2019.
https://www.qfiles.com/science/mathematics/historyofmathematics
History of mathematics
An old wooden abacusMathematics originally developed from a need to measure and count. Early advances were made in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, the Greeks and the Islamic world. Trading, observation of the stars and planets , and the desire to understand nature all helped to drive the study of mathematics over the years. The first counting was done with notches on bones or wood, with one symbol for each number. The earliest counting device was the abacus, a counting frame along which beads are moved to make calculations. It dates from 2700–2300 BC in Sumeria, modern Iraq.
Babylonian clay tablet with calculation
Babylonian maths
The first advances in mathematics were made by the people of Mesopotamia from about 2700 BC to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC. The Babylonian number system was based on the number 60. This is why we have 60 seconds in a minute and 360 degrees in a circle. No one is sure why they used this number, other than the fact it very usefully can be divided by 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 and 12. One idea is that they counted to 12 on one hand by pointing the thumb to each of the three bones on the four fingers in turn, allowing them to count in groups of twelve. Each group was counted on the thumb and four fingers of the other hand, and 12 x 5 is 60.
The word mathematics comes from the Greek word mathema, meaning "what is learnt".
© 2019 Qfiles Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile