Algebra, in its earliest form, was first used by the Babylonians as early as 1700 B.C. It is possible that algebra was used before this time, but historical records are incomplete. However, the algebra used by early civilizations was much more rudimentary than the algebra currently in use today.

The invention of modern algebra took several centuries and was an international endeavor. Algebra was first established as its own mathematical discipline in approximately 820 A.D. by the Persian mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī. During the end of the 16th century, French mathematician François Viète began to develop algebraic notation, and René Descartes built upon his work. Modern algebra continued to develop until the 19th century with the invention of abstract algebra