You might think Arabic numerals got their start in an ancient Middle Eastern civilization, but you'd be wrong. Our numbering system, known today as Hindu-Arabic numbers, has long been attributed to two mathematicians from India, Aryabhat and Brahmagupta. These mathematicians lived in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, before the rise of the Arab Empire.
In the West, the system was originally known as Arabic numbers because the Arabs had already adopted the system, almost certainly through East-West trade. From Arabia, it spread to Europe and beyond. Early Europeans credited the numerals to the Arabs, but the Arabs referred to them in ancient writings as Hindu numerals.
More facts about Hindu-Arabic numbers: