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Essay about The History of Mathematics in Africa

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The history of mathematics has its roots on the African continent. The oldest mathematical object was found in Swaziland Africa. The oldest example of arithmetic was found in Zaire. The 4000 year old, Moscow papyrus, contains geometry, from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Egypt was the cradle of mathematics. The great Greek mathematicians, including Pythagoras, Thales, and Exodus all acquired much of their mathematics from Egypt, including the notion of zero. This paper will discuss a brief history of mathematics in Africa. Starting with the Lebombo bone and the Ishango Bone, I will then present Egyptian mathematics and end with a discourse on Muslim mathematics in African. “Most histories of mathematics devote only a few pages to Africa and Ancient Egypt... Generally they ignore the history of mathematics in Africa … and give the impression that this history either did not exist or, at least …is not knowable.”
Due to archeological evidence we know that the African people were the first people in the world to use counting to keep track of their things, or time. Around 35,000 BC, in South Africa the earliest known tally stick was made, and was left in Lebombo Cave. 29 notches were cut into the stick. We don't know exactly what they were counting. Some people think they were counting the days from one moon phase to the next, but it could have been something else. Just as well. Now, what we do see is that by 35,000 BC people in South Africa had the idea of keeping records by making marks. “The Lebombo bone is a baboon fibula with a set of 29 notches carved in it. Archeologists believe these marks are evidence of a primitive calendar, measuring either the lunar or the menstrual calendar. This artifact is incredibly important for unders...


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...istory either did not exist or, at least, is not knowable.




Works Cited

Egyptian mathematics. (n.d.). MacTutor History of Mathematics. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Indexes/Egyptians.html
Hypatia and Her Mathematics. (n.d.). www.maa.org. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from www.maa.org/pubs/Calc_articles/ma055.pdf
Lebombo Bone. (n.d.). Kosmix: The web organized for you. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from http://www.kosmix.com/topic/lebombo_bone#ixzz1JoNc4VRl
Mathematics in Islamic Civilization - Dr. Ragheb Elsergany - Islam Story. (n.d.). Islam Story - Supervised by Dr. Ragheb Elsergany. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from http://en.islamstory.com/mathematics-islamic-civilization.html
an old Mathematical Object. (n.d.). Mathematics Department. Retrieved April 26, 2011, from http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/Ancient-Africa/ishango.html



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