How did the Minute Originate and Why are There Sixty Seconds in a Minute and Sixty Minutes in an Hour?

A minute usually refers to a unit for measurement of time, but also refers to a unit of angle in astronomy.

How did the Minute Originate and Why are There Sixty Seconds in a Minute and Sixty Minutes in an Hour?

Around 2400 BC, the ancient Sumerians, who used six as their mathematical base, divided a circle into 360 degrees, with each degree subdivided into another 60 parts, and so on.

The Romans called these units minute prima, or first small part, and secunda minuta, or second small part.

This system was perfect for round clock faces, and that’s why we use minutes and seconds as divisions of time.

In ancient astronomy, a minute can also mean a unit of time equal to 1/60th of a day, or 24 minutes.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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