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The history of Sudoku is intriguing and involves a mix of international influences. The puzzle itself did not originate in Japan, as is commonly believed, but its path to popularity took an interesting journey through different countries. Here’s a brief overview of the history of Sudoku:

  1. 18th-Century Europe: The roots of Sudoku can be traced back to 18th-century Europe. Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler created a puzzle called “Latin Squares,” which laid the groundwork for the development of Sudoku. Latin Squares involve arranging numbers in a grid in such a way that each number appears only once in each row and column.
  2. Late 19th Century – French Newspapers: In the late 19th century, French newspapers published a version of Latin Squares. These puzzles gained popularity and became a regular feature in publications.
  3. Early 20th Century – Howard Garns: The modern version of Sudoku is credited to an American architect named Howard Garns. In 1979, he created a puzzle called “Number Place” for Dell Magazines, a puzzle and game publisher. Garns’ version included a 9×9 grid divided into 3×3 subgrids and had a few more rules than the Sudoku we know today.
  4. Introduction to Japan: The puzzle made its way to Japan through various channels. In 1984, the Japanese puzzle company Nikoli began publishing Sudoku puzzles, but they called it “Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru” (数字は独身に限る), which roughly translates to “the numbers must be single.” Nikoli simplified the rules and eliminated some of Garns’ original constraints.
  5. Global Popularity: Sudoku gained global popularity in the early 2000s. It started appearing in international newspapers and magazines, captivating puzzle enthusiasts worldwide. The simplicity of its rules, combined with the challenge it presented, contributed to its widespread appeal.
  6. Media Explosion: The digital age further fueled Sudoku’s popularity. Online platforms, mobile apps, and computer software made the game easily accessible to a broad audience. Sudoku tournaments, championships, and clubs also emerged, adding a competitive element to the puzzle.

Today, Sudoku is a ubiquitous and beloved puzzle enjoyed by millions around the world. Its journey from 18th-century Europe to international acclaim demonstrates how a simple number puzzle can transcend borders and become a global phenomenon.

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