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History of Geometry

Updated on April 27, 2011




          Geometry is one of the earliest branches of Mathematics to be discussed.  Its beginnings can be traced in ancient  Egypt or early or before 1700 B.C.  Due to necessity, every time the Nile River inundated and deposited fertile soil along the bank, the early Egyptian had to solve the problem of size and boundaries of land along the Nile River. Changes happened in the contour of the land had caused confusion among landowners.  So a system of making boundaries, measuring lengths and areas had to be discovered.  From this circumstance the name “Geometry” has evolved. The word “Geometry” originated from the word “Geo” means “earth” in Greek and “metros” means “to measure”.


          In addition, the building of pyramids required special shapes of stones and precise measurements so that each block would fit exactly with the other.  The Egyptian were mainly interested on the practical aspects of the subject. Hence, their knowledge was based on intuition, experiment and approximation.


          The main record of ancient Egyptian Geometry has been the “Ahmes Papyrus” which was written by an Egyptian temple scribe around 1700 B.C.  The “Ahmes Papyrus” is now kept in the British museum.


          However, about one thousand years later, the ancient Greeks became interested in Geometry as a discipline that follows pattern and relationships based on logic.  They systematized the study of the subject by a set of postulates. By using deductive reasoning, they were able to prove many theorems.


          At around 600 B.C. Ionian Greeks who have traveled to Egypt, brought back to their land the first knowledge of Geometry. The most famous of these traveler was Thales, the first of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. He was the first to demonstrate the truth of geometric relationship by showing that it followed a logical and orderly fashion from a set of universally accepted statements called axiom and postulates. The deductive reasoning method has dominated all Geometry as well as all Mathematics to this day.



          Thales most famous pupil was Pythagoras. He existed about 582 B.C. to 507 B.C. After traveling extensively, Pythagoras settled in Crotons, Italy where he established a society devoted to the study of Arithmetic, Music, Geometry and Astronomy.  He and his colleagues proved many theorems about triangles and circles.  The Pythagorean Theorem, which states the relationship between the legs and hypotenuse of a right triangle, was name after him.  Although he died in exile he continued to influence Greek mathematician for many centuries. After his death, the critics of Elea in Italy, Athens in Green, and Alexandria in Egypt became the new homes of geometric advancement.


          In Alexandria, about 300 B.C. Euclids, a mathematician of obscure origin, compiled into thirteen books most of the mathematical knowledge of his time.  Seven of these books were devoted to Geometry.  This great work was called “Elements”. The entire subject was thoroughly and systematically restated, the various statements and theorem were rearranged and numbered, and The Geometry  of Solid bounded by flat surfaces was included.


          The greatest mathematician of antiquity was the Greek Archimedes.  He lived about 287-202 B.C.  Extending Euclid’s treatment of solid bodies to include the sphere, cylinder and cone was among his contributions.


          Other great Alexandrian Geometer includes Apollonius of Perga.  He lived in about 261 B.C. to 190 B.C.  He was the pupil of Archimedes.  He produced an eight treaties on the conic section, which made him earn the titled, “The Great Geometer”.  His writings and discoveries found application in the work of Kepler and Newton on planetary orbit.


          In AD 641, the Arabs attacked Alexandria and destroyed the university and the library.  After the fall of Alexandria, most of the work of Greek mathematicians were scattered or lost.




          In Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, a period of almost total ignorance of the sciences followed. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Elements was translated from the Greek and Arabic into Latin and the modern European languages, and geometry was added to the curriculum of monastery school.





          Gerard Desargues who lived about 1593-1652 A.D. laid the groundwork for projective Geometry – Projective Geometry treats properties of figures, particularly those which remain unchanged under various projections. Modern Geometry is composed of projective Geometry, conic section and the modern geometry of the triangle and circle.


          Gaspard Monge who lived about 1749-1818 A.D. introduced descriptive Geometry.  Descriptive Geometry is concerned with representing geometric figures on planes and determining distances, angles, and lines of intersection by geometric means.


          In 1637 A.D., Rene Descartes a French philosopher and Mathematician, published the first treaties on analytical Geometry. He applied Algebra’s methods to Geometry, showing that all kinds of Geometric problem could now be solved using a general approach.




  Source:    Geometry

                   by:    Dr. Melecio C. Deauna


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    • profile image

      joseph detangco 4 years ago

      sana maraming mag mahal sa math

    • profile image

      vanshu sinha 4 years ago

      thanks for this help and i also appreciate the efforts. It has now made a lot difference to my knowledge about geometry in maths :) thnxx buddiee:)

    • profile image

      Norie Jean Sadiasa 5 years ago

      I love mathematics especially geometry.......

    • profile image

      mamia potch 5 years ago

      ang hirap talaga na history sa geometry pero ang dali lng intindihin....

    • profile image

      ahlia 5 years ago

      Really useful for my school project. Thanks for the info!

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      shaira lea 5 years ago

      oh , that was a great answer thank you for the information you've post . It will help many people searching thank you . god bless you all

    • profile image

      dominic atiah(UEW-Ghana 5 years ago

      this is a great work, u have made my research work very simple, continue with this good work. Greetings from Ghana

    • profile image

      dominic atiah(UEW-Ghana 5 years ago

      this is a great work, u have made my research work very simple, continue with this good work. Greetings from Ghana

    • profile image

      jessica 5 years ago

      hirap telqa

      peo kpq

      pnq arln mu nq todo

      u got it


    • profile image

      julen boaquin 5 years ago

      haaaaaaaaaaay nku! sobrang hrap ng geometry! peo ok lng cozzzzz mada ra og smile :) jejje !!! i love it!!!

    • profile image

      warbs 5 years ago

      verry well.....

    • profile image

      ayushma sharma 6 years ago



      THANKS FOR DA POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Tia 6 years ago

      Thanks! this helped me a lot =)

    • profile image

      jerry 6 years ago

      I like how the history presented. I will also share it with my students.Brief but full of information

    • profile image

      Princy khatri 6 years ago

      thnkzz !!!!!! ..... it helped me in doing project

    • profile image

      CARMIE.... 6 years ago


    • profile image

      STEVEN 6 years ago


    • profile image

      yhumcee ccO 02 :)) 6 years ago

      teincs pfo dahiL naqawa cco nua unq assignment ccO .. heheh

    • profile image

      cren28 6 years ago

      thank you for the info... it'll be a great help to me in my class...

    • profile image

      kara 6 years ago

      Thanks for the info. :)

      Helped a lot!

    • profile image

      angie sabido 6 years ago

      wow...!!this is so amazing..

      thanks for the information,,

      it helps my studies to know about the geometry..

    • profile image

      vego 7 years ago

      Wow! This is so fantastic! I don't usually like maths but this is really easy to understand and it's well set out!

    • profile image

      rustom ahit 7 years ago

      thanks a lot 4 dat information. it helps a lot to us! keep up d good work!

    • profile image

      roline_vg 7 years ago

      i'm only in second year and we're

      studying it already... so hard...

    • profile image

      unknown 7 years ago

      it's great. i got a lot of ideas about geometry. it was amazing how geometry started.

    • profile image

      kim 7 years ago

      wow! it really help a lot!!! thanks hub!!!

    • profile image

      Nina Hermogino 7 years ago

      Ok. thank God! I irrevocably found the shortest history of geometry which states the significant events. I`ve been like surfing on the net for about 2 hrs. just to see some short history of it, but just found the long ones. hmm, anyways, This will be my first assignment in math this 3rd year high. And, it makes me nervous coz i know that we`re gonna discuss about GEOMETRY which I got no idea at all... some r saying that geometry`s hard, well, I hate it!!! coz I`m kinda bad at math, yet, I`m gonna try my very best so that I`ll maintain being top 1.

    • profile image

      Sherly Guiuan 7 years ago

      sobra pong talino nyo maraming pong salamat dahil may sagot na ako sa assignment ko :)

    • profile image

      jhelyn 7 years ago

      wow i really love it.........

      cus its very!!!!



    • profile image

      tana 88 7 years ago

      tnx for the article. it really helped me a lot!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      zyra 7 years ago

      yah me 2 i agree..

    • profile image

      EUCLIN 7 years ago


    • profile image

      cindy 7 years ago

      ang talino nyo ama poe sana ganyan dn ako!!!!

    • profile image

      mgo 7 years ago

      thanks this was very useful for my school research paper

    • profile image

      dre 8 years ago

      I had fun reading the history, thanx for this post.

    • Slave2No1 profile image

      Slave2No1 8 years ago from Oneida, NY

      I very much enjoyed the information, as I really appreciate both history and exploring all the mysteries of math. The only thing that bothered me personally, (& may bother other English nit-pickers) is the grammar. However, since your area of the world is dominated by Spanish, most overlook it and give you 'thumbs up' for your efforts. Somehow I didn't think that was 100% fair to you, so as a 'stickler' for the English language purists, I felt the need to mention it, as well as a hearty 'thank you' for your interesting post. I always run my eMails and anything else I write through the spell-check to avoid my own English-text errors. Everyone can use a little help now and then since the human race isn't gifted with perfection and I may be the least of all, which makes me acutely aware of the many strange yet demanding idiosyncrasies of language; our 'melting-pot' English especially. Like most people, striving to improve is a noble quest, but without a hint of direction, our compass in life has no guiding properties. We can't let every pat on the back elevate our egos to loose sight of the uneven ground we trod, or a trip and fall is inevitable. Nursing such bruises tends to hurt our creativity, yet we are all better off for these little scars, reminding us that no matter how well we do, we can always do better. Like alcohol, too much kudos can make one "drunk". IE: You can't go forward in the past tense. Keep up the good work.... it can only get better! I look forward to reading more posts from you!

    • profile image

      linda 8 years ago

      While looking for a history on geom. found this one & first comment is it started in Mesopotamia & spread to Egypt as the first pharoah was a nephew of the King of Iraq. The other is the univ. & library was were sacked, burned & destroyed was done by the Jews not Arabs. Why would Arabs destroy what was theirs? That is their history to this day. Rare to find a book or teacher that shows sequential relationships & their utility in shapes, patterns re measurements. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Ju-Ee 8 years ago

      Nice. Helped me on my soon-due-date assignment.

    • cristina327 profile image

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 8 years ago from Manila

      Thanks puppascott for dropping by. It is nice to hear from you. It is nice to know that you love teaching Math. Remain blessed always. Regards.

    • puppascott profile image

      puppascott 8 years ago from Michigan (As far as you know...)

      I have to agree with James. I love teaching math, especially to those who think it's magic. These bits of trivia always add (no pun intended) credibility to a lesson. Thanks.

    • cristina327 profile image

      Maria Cristina Aquino Santander 8 years ago from Manila

      Thanks James for appreciating this hub. Best regards.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      WOW! You are pretty smart! I enjoyed the history of geometry. Great Hub! Thanks.


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