Arabic numerals

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Arabic numerals or Hindu numerals[1][2] or Hindu-Arabic numerals[2][3] are the ten digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). They are descended from the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians, in which a sequence of numerals such as "975" is read as a whole number. The Indian numerals were adopted by the Persian mathematicians in India, and passed on to the Arabs further west. They were transmitted to Europe in the Middle Ages. The use of Arabic numerals spread around the world through European trade, books and colonialism. Today they are the most common symbolic representation of numbers in the world.

As befitting their history, the digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9) are also known as Hindu numerals or "Hindu-Arabic numerals". The reason that they are more commonly known as "Arabic numerals" in Europe and the Americas is that they were introduced to Europe in the 10th century by Arabs of North Africa, who were then using the digits from Libya to Morocco. Europeans did not know about the numerals' origins in ancient India, so they named them "Arabic numerals".[4] Arabs, on the other hand, call the system "Hindu numerals",[5][6] referring to their origin in India. This is not to be confused with what the Arabs call the "Hindi numerals", namely the Eastern Arabic numerals (٠.١.٢.٣.٤.٥.٦.٧.٨.٩) used in the Middle East, or any of the numerals currently used in Indian languages (e.g. Devanagari: ०.१.२.३.४.५.६.७.८.९).[7]

In English, the term Arabic numerals can be ambiguous. It most commonly refers to the numeral system widely used in Europe and the Americas. Arabic numerals is the conventional name for the entire family of related systems of Arabic and Indian numerals. It may also be intended to mean the numerals used by Arabs, in which case it generally refers to the Eastern Arabic numerals.

The decimal Hindu-Arabic numeral system was invented in India around 500 CE.[7][8] The system was revolutionary in that it included a zero and positional notation. It is considered an important milestone in the development of mathematics. One may distinguish between this positional system, which is identical throughout the family, and the precise glyphs used to write the numerals, which vary regionally. The glyphs most commonly used in conjunction with the Latin alphabet since early modern times are 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9.

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