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How Ancient African Moors Civilized Europe


King Philip III of Spain issued a decree on April 9, 1609, which is considered to be one of the earliest instances of ethnic cleansing. King Philip III of Spain ordered the expulsion of 300,000 Muslim Moriscos during the height of the Spanish Inquisition, which set off one of the cruelest and most tragic periods in Spanish history.

Contrary to popular belief, ancient Africans brought civilization, not the other way around, to Spain and much of Europe.

In 1700 BC, the Greek island of Crete became the center of the first European civilization, which was largely influenced by the black Africans of the Nile Valley. The Romans eventually lost this acquired culture, which led to the start of the Dark Ages, which lasted for five centuries. The Greeks then transmitted this acquired culture to them.

Another group of black Africans, the Moors, put an end to the Dark Ages in Europe and brought civilization back.

The Moors and the Dark Ages

When history is taught in the West, the period called the Middle Ages is generally referred to as the Dark Ages and depicted as the period during which civilization in general, including the acts and sciences, laid somewhat idle. This was certainly true for Europeans but not for Africans. Renowned historian, Czech Anta Job explains how during the Middle Ages, the great empires of the world were black empires and the educational and cultural centers of the world were predominantly African. After the collapse of the Roman Empire multitudes of white warring tribes from the Caucasus were pushed into Western Europe by the invading Huns, the Moors invaded Spanish shores in 711 AD and African Muslims literally civilized the white tribes from Caucasus.

The Moors eventually ruled over Spain, Portugal, North Africa, and southern France for over 700 years. Although generations of Spanish rulers have tried to expunge this era from historical record, recent archaeology and scholarship now sheds new light on how Moorish advances in mathematics, astronomy, art, and philosophy helped propel Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.

The Struggle of the middle ages

One of the most famous British historians, Basil Davidson, noted that during the 8th century, there was no land more admired by its neighbors or more comfortable to live in than a rich African civilization which took shape in Spain. The Moors were unquestionably black and the 16th century English playwriter William Shakespeare used the word Moor as a synonym for African. Education was universal in Muslim Spain while in Christian Europe, 99% of the population was illiterate and even kings could neither read nor write. The Moors boosted a remarkably high literacy rate for a pre-modern society. During an era when Europe had only two universities, the Moors had 17. The founders of Oxford University were inspired to form the institution after visiting universities in Spain. According to the United Nations education body, the oldest university operating in the world today is the University of Alcarrion of Morocco, founded during the height of the Moorish Empire in 859 A.D. by a black woman named Fatima Afiri. In the realm of mathematics, the number zero, the Arabic numerals, and the decimal system were all introduced to Europe by Muslims, assisting them to solve problems far more quickly and accurately and laying the foundation for the scientific revolution. The Moor’s scientific curiosity extended to flight and polymaths.

Ibn Finas made the world’s first scientific attempt to fly in a controlled manner in 875 A.D. Historical archives suggest that his attempt worked but his landing was somewhat less successful. Africans took to the skies some six centuries before the Italian Leonardo da Vinci developed a hang glider. Clearly, the Moors helped to lift the general European populace out of the dark ages and paved the way for the renaissance period. In fact, a large number of the traits on which modern Europe pride itself came to it from Muslim Spain, namely free trade, diplomacy, open borders, etiquette, advanced seafaring, research methods, and key advances in chemistry. At a time when the Moors built 600 public baths and the rulers lived in sumptuous palaces, the monarchs of Germany, France, and England convinced their subjects that cleanliness was a sin and European king dwelled in the big bands with no windows and no chimney, often with only a hole in the roof for the exits of smoke.

In the 10th century, Cordoba was not just the capital of Moorish Spain but also the most important and modern city in Europe. Cordoba boosted a population of half a million and had street lightning, 50 hospitals with running water, 500 mosques, and 17 libraries, one of which held over 500,000 books. All of these achievements occurred at a time when London had a predominantly illiterate population of around 20,000 and had largely forgotten the technical advances of the Romans some 600 years before. Street lamps and paved streets did not appear in London or Paris until hundreds of years later. The Catholic Church forbade money lending which severely hampered any effort at economic progress. Medieval Christian Europe was a miserable lot which was rival with squalor, barbarism, and illiteracy.

The Age of Exploration (Spain and Portugal)

In Europe’s great age of exploration, Spain and Portugal were the leaders in global seafaring. It was the Moorish advances in navigational technology such as the astrolabe and sex nun as well as their improvements in cartography and shipbuilding that paved the way for the age of exploration. Thus, the era of western global dominance of the past half millennium originated from the African Moorish sailors of the Iberian Peninsula during the 1300s. Long before Spanish monarchs commissioned Columbus search for the land to the west, African Muslims amongst others had long since established significant contact with the Americas and left a lasting impression on native culture.

One can only wonder how Columbus could have discovered America when a highly civilized and sophisticated people were watching him arrive from America’s shores. An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas many years before Columbus and indeed before Christ. Dr. Barry Fell of Harvard University alights an array of evidence of Muslims in America before Columbus from scriptures, oral traditions, coin, eyewitness reports, ancient artifacts, Arabic documents, and inscriptions.

The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the paint of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist Leo Werner of Harvard University in his book Africa and the Discovery of America explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that black-skinned people had come from the southeast in bull trading in gold-tipped space. Muslim Spain not only collected and perpetuated the intellectual advances of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Roman civilization also expanded on the civilization and made its own vital contributions in fields ranging from astronomy, pharmacology, maritime navigation, architecture, and law.

The centuries-old impression given by some western scholars that the African continent made little or no contributions to civilization and that its people are naturally primitive has unfortunately become the basis of racial prejudice, slavery, colonialism, and the ongoing economic oppression of Africa. If Africans rewrite their true history, they will reveal a glory that they will inevitably seek to recapture.

Author Profile

John Aina has a Masters degree as an engineer and has over 3 years of teaching and research experience. John is happiest when he is on a bike and is also interested in Solar technology.
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    How Ancient African Moors Civilized Europe

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