Alchemy has been practiced in many countries, with a history stretching back over 2500 years. Here is an abbreviated timeline or history of alchemy.
- Egyptian alchemy [5000 BC – 400 BC], Alchemy is believed to have originated in Egypt.
- Indian alchemy [1200 BC – Present], Indian alchemy was strongly related to metallurgy. Nagarjuna was an important Indian alchemist. Alchemy continues to be practiced in India.
- Greek alchemy [332 BC – 642 AD], The Greeks studied alchemy at the Library of Alexandria.
- Chinese alchemy [142 AD], Wei Boyang wrote The Kinship of the Three
- Islamic alchemy [700 – 1400], Islamic alchemy was systematic and had much in common with the science of chemistry. Jābir ibn Hayyān developed an experimental method for alchemy during the Islamic Golden Age.
- Islamic chemistry [800 – Present], The Islamic study transitioned from classical alchemy into modern chemistry. Alkindus and Avicenna refuted transmutation, Rhazes refuted the four classical elements, and Tusi discovered conservation of mass.
- European alchemy [1300 – Present], European alchemists, such as Saint Albertus Magnus, built upon the foundations of Islamic alchemy. Alchemy is practiced in Europe and in the Western world in modern times.
- European chemistry [1661 – Present], Alchemy and chemistry began to diverge. Lavoisier wrote Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry), Boyle wrote The Sceptical Chymist, and Dalton published his Atomic Theory.