Who Invented Multiplication?

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Multiplication was invented by the Babylonians thousands of years ago. Find out who invented multiplication with tips from a mathematics instructor in this free video on math history.

Part of the Video Series: History of Mathematics
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Steve Jones and I want to talk to you a little about who invented multiplication. Multiplication has existed ever since time began. The problem is that there are formal systems of multiplication and these appear to begin in Babylon which produced a system similar to own. Of course the Egyptians used multiplication. The Greeks. Those mathematicians in India and China also. But a formal system where they used multiplication in the way that we do was only seen in Babylon. In Babylon they were using a number by doubling, tripling, quadrupling simply by addition and then they would add the separate sectors together so that they ended up with what appeared to be a multiplication. That is very similar system to our own system when we do long multiplication we do exactly that same system. We are simply tripling and doubling our numbers and then adding those numbers together. So over the thousands of years, this would be Egyptians four thousand years ago. From those last four thousand years, multiplication in its formalization has developed to something like it is today with very little change.


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