Spanish numbers belong to an Indo-Arabic based decimal system, although the history of the number system is much more ancient. The Babylonians used cuneiform writing as observed in the Code of Hammurabi (Babylonian law code) and the Egyptians used hieroglyphs symbols to represent numbers.
In Europe, and therefore in Spain, for many centuries the Roman numeration system dominated. In the 8th century, Leonardo de Pisa, who had traveled through the Middle East, introduced the Indo-Arabic system to Europe. In Spain this numeration system appeared in manuscripts as early as 976 AD. Towards the year 1500, the system was already in place and used clearly in mathematical texts.
With the expanding European empires, the number system spread throughout the West, substituting local number systems such as those found in Latin America. One example of this was the very precise Mayan numerical system.
The Indo-Arabic numerical system is still used today and is the base of significant scientific development and universal mathematics.
One curiosity is the small difference between the Spanish numerical systems and the Anglo-Saxon one. In Spain, a billion is one million millions, whereas in the Anglo-Saxon system it is one-thousand millions.
Spain: One billion: 1.000.000.000.000
Anglo-Saxons: Un billón = 1,000,000,000
Also opposite to the Anglo-Saxon system is the fact that in Spain the “.” symbol is used to separate thousands and “,” to indicate decimals.
3.537,52 = three thousand five hundred thirty-seven and 52 cents.
The Spanish numbers are not difficult to learn. Even when there are some exceptions in the way to form them, their construction follows rules that will allow students to learn them easily.
Here are the Spanish numbers: