The concept of zero dates back to the Babylonians in 2000 B.C., but the actual symbol was fully developed in the fifth century A.D. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Mayans and Indians all invented the concept independently.
While the concept of nothing or zero was fully developed in ancient times, ancient people did not use the symbol as a placeholder as in modern times. The first arithmetic operations using zero were performed in India in the seventh century. It was not until the 17th century that division by zero was solved independently by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, and this opened remarkable possibilities in arithmetic, finance and economics.