If you had to make a guess how old is algebra? Would you think that it may be days back or your parents’ generation, or maybe few hundred years, or thousand? Some of you might be surprised to learn that it’s actually older than any of that. Algebra is very old. It really dates back to the earliest civilizations on earth. The intercultural of Mesopotamia or Babylon usually get most of the credit for who invented algebra. But some credit also belongs to the Egyptians and the Chinese. So basically as soon as people started coming together to create civilizations they were getting beyond caveman map like one two three four five… and they were started to create actual systems of map like algebra, numbering systems, fractions, geometric measurements and that kind of thing.
The three pictures you will see below are all actual ancient texts from these three civilizations.
You can see pretty clearly that there are geometric shapes. The Chinese text is actually showing you an algebra pattern. But the fact that algebra is very old says a couple important things about it. One is that algebra is not that advance even though it might seem really hard in high school. It’s something like anxious civilizations were doing. So it can’t be that advance. It says that there must be something kind of important about algebra. If people were choosing to do it this early in time there must been some reasons for it. So in fact these cultures they were all very practical pragmatic peoples. They really were concerned with down to earth problem solving. For example:
If I grow some wheat this year how much will I have left at the end to the season?
If I decide to sell wheat how much I should sell it for?
If I decide to store wheat how should I build my containers that they would big enough?
These are very practical questions and algebra could be used to solve them.
If you want to know when was algebra invented or better who do the fundamental for algebra read here.
Who invented algebra