Phosphorus is the first element to be discovered having an historical register. In 1669, a German merchant called Henning Brand obtained elementary phosphorus through the distillation of urine, writing a letter to Leibniz reporting its discovery. It is quite probable that, in the 12th century, Arabian alchemists have obtained the element using this process. However, the credit is given to Brand. The name of phosphorus has a Greek origin meaning "it possesses brilliance" due to its property of shining in the darkness when exposed to the air.