Elementymology & Elements Multidict
Magnesium – Magnesium – Magnésium – Magnesio – マグネシウム – Магний – 錳
Magnesium Frisian (West)
Magnín, ²Magnesín Icelandic
Magneziu Romanian - Moldovan
SlavicМагнезий [Magnezij] Bulgarian
Магній [mahnij] Belarusian
Магнезиум [Magnezium] Macedonian
Магний [Magnij] Russian
Магнезијум [Magnezijum] Serbian
Магній [mahnij] Ukrainian
Maignéisiam Gaelic (Irish)
Maignèisiam Gaelic (Scottish)
Magnaishum Gaelic (Manx)
Other Indo-EuropeanΜαγνησιο [magnisio] Greek
Մագնեզիում [magnezium] Armenian
Magnez, ²Magneziumi Albanian
Магний [magnij] Ossetian
Магний [Magni'] Tajik
Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryanম্যাগনেসিয়াম [myāganesiẏāma] Bengali
منیزیم [mnyzym] Persian
મૅગ્નેશિયમનો [megneṡiyamano] Gujarati
मैग्नेशियम [maigneśiyama] Hindi
Магний [Magnij] Komi
Магний [Magnij] Mari
Магни [magni] Moksha
Магни [Magni] Chuvash
Магний [magnij] Kazakh
Магний [Magnij] Kyrgyz
Магни [magni] Mongolian
ماگنىي [magniy] Uyghur
Other (Europe)Magnesioa Basque
მაგნიუმი [magniumi] Georgian
Afro-Asiaticمغنيسيوم [maghnisiyūm] Arabic
מגנזיום [magnezium] Hebrew
Magniżjum, ²Manjeżju Maltese
Sino-TibetanMî (鎂) Hakka
マグネシウム [maguneshiumu] Japanese
마그네슘 [mageunesyum] Korean
แมกนีเซียม [maeknīsiam] Thai
錳 [meng3 / maang5] Chinese
Other Asiaticമഗ്നീഷ്യം [magnīṣyam] Malayalam
மக்னீசியம் [makṉīciyam] Tamil
South-AmericaQunta q'illay, ²Maqnisyu Quechua
CreoleMagnesimi Sranan Tongo
New namesMagnion Atomic Elements
History & Etymology
Magnesium has long been known. Alchemists used magnesia alba, white magnesia or also known as mild magnesian earth (hydrated magnesium carbonate, 4MgCO3.Mg(OH)2.5H2O was magnesia alba levis, and MgCO3.Mg(OH)2.4H2O was magnesia alba ponderosa). The term magnesia alba was used in contrast with magnesia nigra, black manganese oxide (MnO2).
In the drought of 1618 Henry Wicker noted thirsty cattle would not drink from a water hole on the commons at Epsom, Surrey. The salts found in water of these mineral sources were described in 1695 in an article by Nehemia Grew. The medicinal properties of this salt attracted some attention. Epsom's salts were distinguished from other salts and became a fashionable spa for their healing effects on sores. The water contained Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4.7H2O), which was called "Epsom salts" in England (epsomite) and "salt anglicum" or bitter salt elsewhere.
In 1707 M.B. Valentin prepared magnesia alba from the mother liquors obtained in the manufacture of nitre and in 1755 Joseph Black (1728-1799) of Edinburgh distinguished quicklime (calcium oxide, CaO) from magnesia alba (both substances were confounded until that time).
In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) isolated the metal (not pure) and called it Magnium to avoid to avoid confusion with Manganese, the metal found in magnesia nigra (note):
The names magnesia alba and magnesia nigra are derived from Magnesia, Μαγνησια, a prefecture in Thessaly (Greece), with the capital Volos) (see map to the left). Manganese and Magnesium were abundant in oxide and carbonate ores in this region, and they therefore became referred as Μαγνητις λιθος, or stones from Magnesia. The region also contained large amounts of iron oxides (magnetite, or lodestone, for example) so that the ores were magnetized. That explains why magnesium as well as magnet (and magnetism) are derived from Magnesia, while magnesium is not magnetic.
The name Μαγνησια (Magnesia) derives from the Macedonian tribe name "Magnetes". The legendary Greek hero Μαγνης (Magnes) believed the protoplast of this tribe was the son of Eol and Enarete or Zeus and Thyia. The Magnetes have lived on Magnesia peninsula (Thessaly) and later colonized the Anatolia in Asia Minor.
The name Austrium was given by Anton Rupprecht in 1792 to the impure Magnesium prepared by him. He honoured herewith his country Austria (note).
In 1819 Johann Bartholomäus Trommsdorf (1770-1837) in Erfurt reports that he has found a new metal in a salt on the bottom of a bottle of English sulphuric acid. He named it Crodonium, after the god Crodo, who was worshipped in ancient times in Thüringen (Erfurt is the capital of that region) (note). Shortly afterwards, Trommsdorf himself reported that Crodonia was not a new metal, but Magnesia (Magnesium oxide) with a small amount of Copper oxide (note).
MAGNESIUM, a metal that yields light much like Sun,
Being rich in chemically active rays,
Is a soft silver-white metal, that fuses
At low heat, and can be distilled at red heat.
It acts very like Alkaline-Earth metals,
And has great electro motive power.
It may be drawn to wire or pressed to ribands;
Moist air soon oxides Magnesium, dry air will not