Counting is the mathematical action of adding (or subtracting) one, usually to find out how many objects there are or to set aside a desired number of objects (starting with one for the first object and proceeding with a onetoone correspondence); however, counting is also used (primarily by children) to demonstrate knowledge of the number system. Counting sometimes involves numbers other than one (for example: when counting money or when "counting by fives"  5,10,15,20,25...); but, relatively simple numbers (most always integers) are still used.
There is archelogical evidence that humans have been counting for at least 50,000 years [1  p.9]; the development of counting led to the development of mathematical notation and numeral systems. Counting was primarily used by ancient cultures to keep track of economic data such as debts and capital.
See also
References

An Introduction to the History of Mathematics (6th Edition) by Howard Eves (1990)
Last updated: 05132005 07:56:04