What is civilization?
Civilization is defined as the ‘process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social and cultural development and organization’.
World Civilization as it stands today is the product of at least 5000 years of Cultural development since the rise of Ancient Sumer.
Number 1 – Exploration
Africans were the first humans and without their spirit of exploration, the Planet would not have been populated.
All of humanity is in debt to the pioneering force of Ancient Africans who ventured from the African hinterland after the desertification of the Sahara.
In addition, the entire Human Population carries the African Genes and evolutionary instincts gained from life on the African Plains.
Number 2 – Hieroglyphs
Although Cuneiform was the first form of known writing developed in Ancient Sumer, Africans in Nubia also invented Hieroglyphs which greatly influenced subsequent Civilizations including Greece and Rome.
In addition, today we still hae the mysterious Meroitic script of Kush, a form of Hieroglyph which still remains to be decoded by Historians.
Number 3 – Caesaren surgugical procedure
The African contribution to medicine, specifically the Caesarean section surgical procedure also deserves to be noted.
This surgical procedure was practiced in Uganda, and we have the eye witness account of Dr. Robert Falcon an English medical missionary in Uganda in the 19th century who witnessed the Bunyoro C-section first hand, and wrote a very detailed account of what he saw which also includes a record of the woman’s healing process.
Scholars have concluded that the sophisticated procedure must have been passed down since Ancient Times.
Number 4 – Mathematical IShango bone
The oldest known mathematical tool in human history is the IShango bone dating to around 8,500 BC.
The Ishango bone has been regarded as a mathematical object made from the fibula of a Baboon.
It has a series of tally marks used for counting along its length which were used to perform simple mathematical procedures.
It was found in the Congo Region in 1960, and is displayed in the Royal Institute for Natural Sciences in Brussels Belgium.
The mathematical calculations based on the Tally Marks had a number of potential uses including basic measurements as well as Astronomical calculations, and it was named after the Django people who inhabited the area in which it was discovered.
Number 5 – Iron Age smelting furnaces
The African contribution to the Iron Age is also significant.
Africa didn’t even have a Bronze Age, and went from the Stone Age straight into iron which is very unique.
This metallurgical leap makes Africa the originator of humanity’s Iron Age with iron smelting furnaces specifically in Nigeria dating all the way back to 2000 BC being found which is much earlier than any other found in the World.
Number 6 – Metallurgic sciences
Besides Iron, one of the most valuable achievements in human history is the creation and manipulation of elements in general exemplefied in the art of metallurgy.
The metallurgic sciences have advanced humanity greatly with metals being used for warfare and agriculture.
The Edo people were particularly skilled at the manipulation of Brass and their skills have been immortalised in the famous Benin Bronzes.
Number 7 – Astronomical knowledge
The Dogon were already since ancient times the Sirius system was a Binary Star, together with other information which simply could not be obtained with the naked eye.
The antiquity of Dogon astronomical knowledge is both impressive and mysterious, counting as an important contribution to human knowledge because the Sirius Dwarf Star was only discovered by Western Astronomers in the 20th Century.
Number 8 – Architectural marvels
The Giza Pyramids are the most recognizable Ancient structure on the Planet, and they were built by the Pharaoh Khufu or Cheops.
In addition, other Africans have contributed unique architecture such as that at Great Zimbabwe which is the largest stone structure South of the Sahara.
The site itself is an architectural marvel considering how it was all built without using mortar to join the stones.
Number 9 – Coffee bean plant
Starbucks is in debt to East Africans for the discovery of Coffee as scholars suggest that it was Ethiopians who first recognized the energizing effect of the coffee bean plant.
Today Coffee is an integral part of Humanity’s Economic and Cultural life, and its safe to say the world has Ethiopia to thank for that.
Number 10 – Mummification
Last but not least is the African contribution to the burial process of mummification.
Human burial is an important part of every Society, and the development of mummification as a way of burying Humans shows the evolution of Cultural thought in relation to the concept of death.
Other than in Ancient Egypt, some of the first indications of human mummification have been found Libya.
In the final analysis, Civilization has been a collective Human project that has unfolded in unexpected ways over time with each part of the world building on the contributions from previous generations in other parts in the world.
Its a very dynamic process in which Africa has had a role since Humans first emerged on the African plains.