I'm pretty sure it was ancient Indians (dot, not arrow) who introduced zero."When we speak of the early history of algebra it is necessary to consider first of all the meaning of the term. If by algebra we mean the science which allows us to solve the equation ax^2+bx+c=0, expressed in these symbols, then the history begins in the 17th century; if we remove the restriction as to these particular signs, and allow for other and less convenient symbols, we might properly begin the history in the 3rd century; if we allow for the solution of the above equation by geometric methods, without algebraic symbols of any kind, we might say that algebra begins with the Alexandrian School or a little earlier; and if we say that we should class as algebra any problem that we should now solve by algebra (even though it was at first solved by mere guessing or bysome cumbersome arithmetic process), then the science was known about 1800 B.C., and probably still earlier." - Dr. Math

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