Another historical diagram

rogersgeorge on March 2nd, 2014

This chart explains the reasoning behind the shapes of the numerals we use. Back in the late 1100’s a guy name of Fibonacci came back from a trip overseas with some new writing tools—for numbers. Until his day roman numerals were the way people wrote numbers. Fibonacci was a mathematician, and he figured out (or was shown) that the Hindu place-value system made calculating a LOT easier. I don’t know why we call them Arabic numerals, because he traveled past Arabia and got the info farther to the east. By the way, the very first example we have of these numerals being used in Europe, if I recall, was on a sign at a coal mine, and it predates Fibonacci. But who reads coal mines? Anyway, Fibonacci gets the credit, and he worked hard to popularize his method, so he deserves it, I think, and some anonymous coal miner gets a nice footnote.

 

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