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Vanadium (Scandinavian goddess, Vanadis) was originally discovered by Andrés Manuel del Río (a Spanish mineralogist) at Mexico City in 1801, who called it "brown lead" (now named vanadinite). Through experimentation, he saw that the colors it exhibited were reminiscent of chromium, so he named the element panchromium. He later renamed this compound erythronium, since most of the salts turned red when heated. A French chemist incorrectly declared that del Rio's new element was only impure chromium. Del Rio thought himself to be mistaken and accepted the statement of the French chemist.
In 1831, Sefström of Sweden rediscovered vanadium in a new oxide he found while working with some iron ores and later that same year Friedrich Wöhler confirmed del Rio's earlier work.
Metallic vanadium was isolated by Henry Enfield Roscoe in 1867, who reduced vanadium chloride (VCl3) with hydrogen. The name vanadium comes from Vanadis, a goddess in Scandinavian mythology, because the element has beautiful multicolored chemical compounds.
Vanadis is very similar to Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It is obtained from the iron ores of Sweden. It is analogous to Chromium. It is a light gray lustrous powder which, under the microscope, appears crystalline and exhibits a silvery lustrous. The person who discovered this metal chose the name Vanadium because its salt compounds are so beautifully coloured. It was discovered in 1830. The name also reminds us of the Latin word 'vanitas', meaning emptiness or vanity.
(mito di vanadis)