It is not known who discovered mercury, but it has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back over 3,500 years. Mercury was also known to the ancient Chinese and Hindus.
Mercury is not found free in nature and is primarily derived from the mineral cinnabar. Nearly half of all mercury is produced by Spain and Italy. More commonly known as quicksilver, it is the only metallic element that is liquid at room temperature (standard conditions for temperature and pressure). Bromine is the only other element that shares this characteristic, although there are metals that melt at just above room temperature.