African History is World History

By Asar Imhotep To accurately address the scope and breadth of African history in one article is like trying to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to fifth graders in 20 words or less: it’s impossible. The reason why this is such a monumental task is because what we call African history is in fact human history. The time needed to fully address the course of human history would take several lifetimes (as human history expands more than three million years). It is a known fact, after decades of debate, that the genus Homo Sapiens (from which modern humans are derived) originated and migrated to populate the rest of the world out of Africa. The earliest human remains (to date) were found in a little town called Herto in modern day Ethiopia. The remains are said to be 160,000 years of age and paleoanthropoligsts have given it the name of Homo Sapien Idaltu (see picture of skull to the right). The reason why this is such an important issue to address is because certain members of the human family felt compelled to enslave other members of the human family and then rewrite history to better suit their political and economic needs. The reason why we have such a thing called Black History Month (derived from Negro History Week created by Dr. Carter G. Woodson) is because contemporary scholars and historians made the claim that Blacks (African people) did not have a history. As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. said in an interview for the PBS special Wonders of the African World:
You see European philosophers said that Africans had no indigenous writing systems. We had no writing, we had no memory. If you have no memory you have no history. If you have no history, you're not a human being.

So there are people within the human family who would like to dehumanize African people by saying that we are animals and because we are not human (in their eyes), we couldn’t have contributed to the “progress” of human civilizations. We will in this brief essay reintroduce some of the known verifiable historical facts that will refute such elementary analysis. We will come to realize that the very ones who claim African people owe a great debt to them for bringing “civilization” to Blacks, are the very ones indebted to those classic African civilizations: their cosmologies, political systems, arts and scientific inquiries. Since the initial argument by some historians is that African people didn’t contribute to human civilization, we will primarily deal with the fundamental inventions the Africans

“Thales. Alexander Sharshak (an independent Paleolithic Anthropologist) suggested it was a lunar calendar and Claudia Zaslavsky has suggested that the creator of the markings must have been a woman and probably recorded the female menstrual cycle. Cambridge University Press. as Dr. Kirk & J. None of these theories have been verified. see G. which calculates the area of a circle of a diameter of nine. having first come to Egypt.000 BP (Before the Present). Raven.S. . the very foundations of Geometry has its origins in the Nile Valley. The oldest verifiable archeological find for mathematics is that of the Ishango Bone with an archeological date between 18 – 20. reprint. Below is problem 50 of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus from ancient Egypt. trigonometry. Finch has shown us in his book Star of Deep Beginnings. Speaking of ancient Ta-Meri. 1981: 76].E. However. transferred this study [Geometry] to Greece…” [For the Greek quote. It is actually a fibula bone of a baboon and it was found in Ishango which is located between Uganda and the Kongo at the edge of the Nile River. One of the last of the Greek philosophers. said. Ishango Bone (18000 – 20000 BC) – front and back The markings are tallies used to calculate simple multiplication. Egyptian mathematics also included algebra.have produced that makes any modern technology. Mathematics The very foundation of mathematical knowledge was first attested to in Africa. Charles S. Proclus Diadochos. The Presocratic Philosophers. philosophy or science impossible without this African foundation. We will primarily deal with concepts that predate any European formation of a political state (roughly around the 8th century BCE). the method of calculation of the Ishango bone is very similar to that found in ancient Ta-Meri (Egypt). The very foundation of Egyptian mathematics can be traced to this bone.

We also cannot speak of writing without talking about the invention of pen and ink. the earliest writing system is found in Africa. Although there are scripts earlier than those found in ancient Ta-Meri (Swaziland 37000 BCE). some scholars would have you to believe that Africa did not have a writing system. Here is a comparison below of just the letter A: For a full treaty. read Chambers' Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge We can’t speak of writing without also talking about the invention of paper.” Our English symbols used in writing derive from early Medu Netcher script (which was adopted by the Khananu (Canaanite) people and later adopted by Greeks and Romans. was called Medu Netcher or “God’s sacred writing. the earliest evidence of a systemized phonetic script is found in the Nile Valley. The very word paper derives from the papyrus plant used to make “paper” in ancient Ta-Meri. This paper (made from papyrus reeds) was created 2. In ancient Ta-Meri a plant reed (Juncus Maritimus) was used for the pen. The writing of the ancient Kmtjw (another word for the Egyptians).000 years before the Chinese created their paper using vegetable pulp. The ink was made . However.Writing As mentioned earlier.

peret – growth. in their so-called Hippocratic Oath (which doctors still take today). . that it is truly the only intelligent calendar that has ever existed in human history. and red or black ochre that was dipped in water with the pen before writing took place. iKaMa = Blackened in Mbochi. “.241 BCE. The term Khem is in various African languages. as all of these societies engaged in metallurgy: KaMa = Black in Coptic. The Ta-Merians were the first to practice suturing and used wooden splints for fractures. they resolved this by (with the Sidereal calendar) letting the time lag accumulate at the end of 1.. Chemistry The very root of the word chemistry derives from the Ta-Merian word Km (Khem). which also is the time that separates two heliacal risings of the star Sba (Sirius). the so-called founder of medicine. Set and Nebthet. It was so ahead of its time that it prompted Otto Naugebauer to say. The Kemetic symbol used to convey this blackness or process was a charred piece of wood (charcoal) .460 years.of a fine soot. it speaks of 48 cases of bone surgery and of external pathology.” The Ta-Merian calendar was divided into 13 months: 12 months of 30 days and one month of five days. But we can inform you that African medicine was so revered that the Greeks included Imhotep. Calendar The earliest calendar in the world was found in the Nile Valley and dates to approximately 4. The calendar is divided into three seasons of four months each (akhet – inundation. KaMi = Burnt in Bambara. in the Smith Papyrus.However.” This was copied word for word by Hippocrates. We still use this calendar today and it is the reason we observe 365 days in a year. Auset. and shemu – harvest).” This alludes to the long cooking process and the distillations that were customary in Egyptian hearths in order to extract material from minerals to make this or that product (smithing). In the Carlsberg Papyrus 4. . Medicine We can’t do justice to the topic of African contributions to medicine in this brief article. To rectify the need for a leap year. one of the greatest African physicians. Heru. which means “black” or “to burn. if the odor comes out of her mouth. it gives a diagnosis to determine if a woman was sterile (pregnancy test): “Insert a clove of garlic in the vagina for one night. The last five days corresponded to the Ta-Merian Neteru (deities) for Ausar. she will bear children. .

philosophy. I recommend the following books below to get you up to speed. The very reason you are reading this paper right now is due to the inventiveness of African people. KeM = Burnt in Wolof. etc. KeMpori = Black in Vai KeMatou = completely burnt in Mandjakou KeMbou = Charcoal in Pulaar Conclusion As mentioned before. activist.. I would have gone into the African origins of seafaring.Ivan Van Sertima Golden Age of the Moor . Finch Echoes of the Old Darkland – Charles S. poet and author of the book Esodus: Internal Reflections and Conversations with the Sun. Recommended Reading Civilization or Barbarism – Chiekh Anta Diop African Origins of Civilization – Chiekh Anta Diop Introduction of Black Studies – Maulana Karenga Stolen Legacy – George GM James African Cosmology of the Bantu Kongo – Dr.KeMi = Burnt in Mandjakou. Since we didn’t have time to address the many contributions of our African/World history. inventions are built on the knowledge of previous generations. calculations and surgery is all due to African people. If I had the opportunity. Finch Black Man of the Nile – Yosef Ben Jochannan They Came Before Columbus – Ivan Van Sertima Black Women in Antiquity Bunseki Fu-Kiau A Star of Deep Beginnings – Charles S. Europe and Asia (different books respectively) . www. philosopher. the recording of time and seasons. comments or .. metallurgy. and art. If you have any questions.Ivan Van Sertima Blacks in Science: Ancient and Modern .houstonministryofculture. He can be reached at imhotep06@mochasuite. www. As can be seen above.Ivan Van Sertima Asar Imhotep is a and The Houston Ministry of Culture. We are today because they were yesterday and no children are better than their mothers and fathers. it is totally impossible to fully address African contributions to world history and civilization in an article. religion. these were not some minor contributions. He is also the founder of MOCHA Urban Hang Suite. Simply put. quantum physics. The very nature of writing. But I hope I have inspired you to look deeper into African history for the very foundations of world history. I can be reached at the address below. Kim = Burnt in Mossi. politics. architecture.Ivan Van Sertima African Presence in Early America. K.

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