Mercury is visible with the naked eye, hence ancient astronomers knew of its existence thousands of years ago. No single person is credited for discovering the planet.
The earliest record of Mercury is in the Mul.Alpin tablets, believed to be written in the 14th century B.C. by Assyrian astronomers. In these tablets, Mercury is referred to as "the jumping planet."
As early as the first millennium B.C., Babylonian records included mentions of Mercury, then named Nabu. The first telescopic observation of the planet was made in the early 17th century by Galileo. The planet is named after the Roman messenger god Mercury.