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Where Does the Standard Division of Hours and Minutes Come From?


A minute is divided into 60 seconds, while an hour is divided into 60 minutes. These numbers seem to be a far cry from the 24 and 12 hour time increments we use alongside them.



So, where did the 60 minute division come from, and why do we still use it today? 


The Ancient Babylonians Used 60 as a Base


The ancient Babylonians preferred to use numbers with the base of 60 for many different things, which scientists claim was because the Babylonians thought there were 360 days in a year.


By choosing the number 60, they were able to solve complex calculations.  


They divided both hours and minutes into 60 parts which is what we use to this day, because it is surprisingly accurate. 


Interestingly, they also divided a circle into 360 parts; which we still use today, only we call the parts “degrees”.


Most of the standards we use today were based on ancient practices. Like how we have divided the day into two 12-hour increments for a total of 24 hours; researchers believe that came from the Egyptians and Mesopotamians.


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Where Does the 24 Hour Clock Format Come from?

What Do the Abbreviations AM and PM Mean?

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