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Mathematical Treasure: Corachan's Arithmetic for Merchants

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Juan Bautista Corachán (1661–1741) was a Spanish mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. He was professor of mathematics at the University of Valencia and was active in promoting the works of Rene Descartes in Spain. In 1699 he published an arithmetic text designed for the use of merchants. This is the title page of the 1757 edition of this arithmetic.

The book begins with a consideration of the “logistica of numbers.” Corachán defined “logistica” as the practical applications of arithmetic.

On page 43, the author discussed the operation of multiplication. The basic multiplication facts are given in a “Pythagorean Table,” a rather archaic term for this time period.

These images are presented through the courtesy of the Dartmouth College Libraries, Hanover, New Hampshire.


Index to Mathematical Treasures


Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Corachan's Arithmetic for Merchants," Convergence (October 2019)