Amazing Facts

Interesting Facts About the Abacus

The abacus throughout history

  1. 2700-2300 BCE – the first appearance of the Sumerian abacus
    appeared in Mesopotamia.

  2. 460 BCE – the Greek historian Herodotus mentioned use of the
    abacus but no other information has been found of its use in
    Ancient Egypt.

  3. 600 BCE – Iranians first began using the abacus during the
    Achaemenid Persian Empire.

  4. 500 BCE – the first archaeological evidence for the use of the
    Greek abacus was found.

  5. 300 BCE – the date of the oldest counting board yet
    discovered. It was found on the Greek island of Salamis in 1846.

  6. 200 BCE – the earliest known documentation of the Chinese
    abacus, called the suanpan.

  7. 100 CE – the earliest archaeological evidence of the Roman
    abacus. Their typical method of calculation was by moving
    pebbles on a smooth table. These pebbles, called calculi, form
    the root of the word calculus today.

  8. 100 CE – the first known use of the abacus in India.

  9. 1400 CE – the Koreans imported the abacus from China. In
    Korea, it is called jupan, supan or jusan.

  10. 1600 CE – the Japanese imported the abacus from China. In
    Japan, it is called soroban.

  11. 1820 CE – France imports and begins using the Russian abacus.

  12. 1974 CE – the popularity and use of the abacus in Russia
    finally starts to wane with the mass production of the micro

  13. 1990s – the former Soviet Union discontinues teaching of the
    abacus in most schools.

  14. 2000s – the soroban is still taught in Japanese elementary

Other interesting facts:

  1. The plural of abacus is abaci.

  2. An abacist is one who uses an abacus (or abaci if they’re
    using more than one).

  3. Most abaci used today are made of bamboo frames with beads and wires.

Related Tags: Abacus  History  
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