is an obsolete synonym for the mineral Columbite-(Fe).
Niobite was named in 1845 by Austrian mineralogist Wilhelm Karl
Ritter von Haidinger (1795-1871) for
its niobium (Nb) content. However, a mineral of the same chemical
had already been discovered and named in 1805 by
Scottish naturalist and mineralogist Robert Jameson
(1774-1854) for its columbium (Cb) content. The
Columbite name had historical precedence and remains
to this day. The
element niobium was originally named columbium. The
element columbium (Cb) was discovered and named in 1801 by English chemist Charles
Hatchett (1765–1847) after Columbia, the historical
and poetical name for America, where it was first found.
The name Columbia was derived from, and in honor of,
Christopher Columbus, discoverer of America.
element columbium was "rediscovered" in
1844 by German chemist Heinrich Rose (1795-1864) who
named it niobium from the Greek mythological figure
daughter of Tantalus,
and the Greek symbol of eternal mourning. The element columbium (Cb) was eventually assigned the name niobium (Nb)
in 1950 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
even though the name of the element which inspired the
name Columbite was changed from columbium to niobium,
the mineral name remains Columbite and the name Niobite,
which was inspired by the current name of the element,
was abandoned. Go figure.
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