The Hindu-Arabic numeral system was developed by Indian mathematicians around AD 500 using quite different forms of the numerals. From India, the system was adopted by Arabic mathematicians in Baghdad and passed on to the Arabs farther west. The current form of the numerals developed in North Africa. It was in the North African city of Bejaia that the Italian scholar Fibonacci first encountered the numerals; his work was crucial in making them known throughout Europe. European trade, books and colonialism helped popularize the adoption of Arabic numerals around the world.