Arabic numerals

Arabic numerals are the ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. The term often implies a number written in the Hindu–Arabic numeral system (where the position of a digit indicates the power of 10 to multiply it by), the most common system for the symbolic representation of numbers in the world today. However, it can also refer to the digits themselves, such as in the statement "octal numbers are written using Arabic numerals." The Hindu-Arabic numeral system was developed by Indian mathematicians around AD 500 using quite different forms of the numerals. From India, the system was adopted by Arabic mathematicians in Baghdad and passed on to the Arabs farther west. The current form of the numerals developed in North Africa. It was in the North African city of Bejaia that the Italian scholar Fibonacci first encountered the numerals; his work was crucial in making them known throughout Europe. European trade, books and colonialism helped popularization the adoption of Arabic numerals around the world. The term Arabic numerals is ambiguous, it may also be intended to mean the numerals used by Arabs, in which case it generally refers to the Eastern Arabic numerals. Although the phrase "Arabic numeral" is frequently capitalized, it is sometimes written in lower case: for instance in its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, which helps to distinguish it from "Arabic numerals" as the Eastern Arabic numerals. Alternative names are Western Arabic numerals, Western numerals, Hindu–Arabic numerals, and Unicode calls them digits.


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