1.2 History

Interest in solving mathematical problems has been around for a long time.  In the beginning it was about simple problems that could be described in words.  When the problems got to be more complicated this no longer worked.  Symbols and numbers were then developed that described and solved these problems.

Later rules were developed which could not only solve a problem but which could be used on many different problems.  It was then that they began using letters in mathematics to write down these rules.  This occurred during the 1600’s and was called symbolic algebra.  It is this that we mean today when we refer to “calculation with letters”.

The algebra today is a very important part of mathematics and had contributed to the development of nearly every branch of mathematics.