One of most fascinating pieces of global history is this: The modern number system was introduced in Europe by an Italian merchant named Leonardo of Pisa (whom we today call Fibonacci) in the beginning of 1200s. Leonardo learnt the decimal system when he visited Béjaïa in Algeria. He was taught the number system by Muslim merchants, who themselves popularized the decimal system after learning it from Hindu merchants. The first mention of zero has been found in Indian commercial text from 200–400 AD written in Sharada script discovered in Bakhshali, Pakistan (today preserved in Oxford’s Bodlean Library).
For about 250 years after Leonardo, his number system wasn’t well known to most Europeans. Much of Europe until around 1500s used the Roman numbers. Imagine performing division using Roman numbers! It was in 1450s after an inventive German blacksmith named Gutenberg invented the movable type Printing Press in Mainz, that the Hindu-Arabic number system began replacing Roman numerals, and revolutionized mathematics, science and commerce!
Personal blog. Views expressed are my own, expressed in personal capacity.