the "greatest European mathematician of the middle ages", his full name was Leonardo of Pisa, or Leonardo Pisano in Italian since he was born in Pisa (Italy), the city with the famous Leaning Tower,about 1175AD. Pisa was an important commercial town in its day and had links with many Mediterranean ports. Leonardo's father, Guglielmo Bonacci, was a kind of customs officer in the North African town of Bugia now called Bougie where wax candles were exported to France. They are still called "bougies" in French, but the town is a ruin today says Smith. So Leonardo grew up with a North African education under the Moors andlater travelled extensively around the Mediterranean coast. He would have met with many merchants and learned of their systems of doing arithmetic. He soon realised the many advantages of the "Hindu-Arabic" system over all the others. D E Smith points out that another famous Italian - St Francis of Assisi(a nearby Italian town) - was also alive at the same time as Fibonacci : St Francis was born about 1182 (after Fibonacci's aroun 1175) and died in 1226 (before Fibonacci's death commonly assumed to be around 1250). By the way, don't confuse Leonardo of Pisa with Leonardo da Vinci! Vinci was just a few miles from Pisa on the way to Florence, but Leonardo da Vinci was born in Vinci in 1452, about 200 years after the death of Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci).