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Arabic numerals

digit value developed symbols

Arabic numerals, also called Hindu-Arabic numerals, the most common symbols for numbers. These basic symbols or digits (Latin, “fingers”) are: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The position of the digit determines its value. For example, in the Arabic numeral 846, the digit 8 has a value of 8 ✕ 100, the digit 4 has a value of 4 ✕ 10, and the digit 6 has a value of 6. Exactly how Arabic numerals originated is unknown. The Hindus in India probably developed 1 through 9 in about 200 B.C.; they developed zero after A.D. 600. Traders and merchants helped spread the Arabic numeral system into Europe.

See also: Numeration systems.

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