tin (Sn), a chemical element belonging to the carbon family, Group 14 (IVa) of the periodic table. It is a soft, silvery white metal with a bluish tinge, known to the ancients in bronze, an alloy with copper. Tin is widely used for plating steel cans used as food containers, in metals used for bearings, and in solder.
The origins of tin are lost in antiquity. Bronzes, which are copper–tin alloys, were used by humans in prehistory long before pure tin metal itself was isolated. Bronzes were common in early Mesopotamia, the Indus valley, Egypt, Crete, Israel, and Peru. Much of the tin used by the early Mediterranean peoples apparently came from the Scilly Isles and Cornwall in the British Isles, where tin mining dates to at least 300–200 BCE. Tin mines were operating in both the Inca and Aztec domains of South and Central America before the Spanish conquest. The symbol Sn for tin is an abbreviation of the Latin word for tin, stannum.Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery-coloured metal. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort.