The sciences of alchemy, chemistry and medicine originated in China, Egypt, and India, but all underwent important developments in Islamic Asian countries and in Tibet and Mongolia throughout the Middle Ages. Natural deposits of metals in Central Asia encouraged alchemy and experimentation with metallurgic materials, as witnessed by the large number of Arabic treatises dealing with science.
Science et technologie
Paper first appeared in China in the 2nd century BC, and it was massively diffused from the 2nd century AD onwards. Paper making techniques evolved significantly during the first centuries of our era. The new material was used for various purposes, and it progressively replaced wood tablets, bamboo tablets, and eventually silk as a support for writing. Paper was exported to neighbouring countries, such as the kingdom of Silla on the Korean peninsula, Japan, Vietnam, and later Tibet and India. These regions soon started producing their own paper.
Persian and Arab sailors were the first to venture into the open sea outside the view of the coast. As a result, they had to elaborate universal systems of navigation based on the positions of the stars. According to literary sources, Chinese pilots had sailed into the open sea on their way to the Malay Peninsula by the 7th century. By the 15th century, they used similar navigation systems to their Persian and Arab predecessors.
The early Islamic Caliphate inherited a variety of cultural and scientific traditions, as it incorporated ancient centers of learning and civilization such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Iran. In turn, the Abbasid caliphs greatly cultivated the arts and sciences, and Baghdad became a famous intellectual center. Works were translated from Greek and Persian and great advances were made in the study sciences, especially arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry.
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