Zero and the Hindu-Arabic System. By Lauren Schooley. Introduction.
By Lauren Schooley
When Zero and the Hindu-Arabic system were being introduced to Europe, the Roman Numerals had been around for hundreds of years. This made spreading through Europe very hard for the new system.
The Roman Numerals use letters to represent numbers instead of having completely different symbols altogether.
I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X…
Fibbonacci introduced zero to Europe, but it was not widely used there until about 800AD. The number zero and the Hindu-Arabic system took a while to be used by everyone because the abacus and Roman Numerals had been around for hundreds of years. This made the Zero part of the system hard to get the hang of because the numbers in Europe were all calculated by abacus, so there was no need for a place holder. When the new system was introduced it took many years for people to understand it.
In the 1400s, the printing press was invented. This was a major boost in the amount of math used because books could be printed and sent far and wide, this meant that the new number system could be explained without the small amount of people who really knew how to use the Hindu-Arabic system having to travel around teaching everyone they saw.
The number Zero and the Hindu-Arabic system had been used for hundreds of years. When people tried to introduce it to Europe the Europeans were afraid of being cheated. Years passed and slowly the new system spread. Now it is used everywhere.