House numbers were first utilized in Europe, though the exact location is debatable. Some sources state that Paris was the first city to use a number system for houses, as early as 1512. Other sources argue that Great Britain enacted widespread house numbering in 1765.
Assigning numbers to houses came about as a matter of necessity. It was previously commonplace for residences and estates to be named. This led to problems in matters of policing and tax collection, as many houses often had the same name. By assigning numbers to each individual home or estate, more accurate record-keeping was possible.