> The division symbol is just a little picture of the general fraction > p > --- , as you'll find from any of the standard books. > q > I wonder if it is as simple as this? In drawing attention to the symbol's appearance as a division sign in Rahn's Algebra (1659), Cajori remarks that "Many writers before him had used Ã?Â· as a minus sign" [Cajori, A history of mathematical notations, 1928, vol 1, p.270].
Cajori goes on to say, interestingly, "There are perhaps no symbols which are as completely observant of political boundaries as are Ã?Â· and : as symbols for division. The former belongs to Great Britain, the British dominions, and the United States. The latter belongs to Continental Europe and the Latin-American countries." Is this still the case?