The human race is of African origin, everyone knows that. But there are several other things that are not known to many, which make Black History so unique.
Did you know for example that the oldest human bones, dating back to 5 million years ago were found in Africa? Or that West Africa had walled cities and towns in the nineteenth century? As early as 1904, it was estimated that Kano province, north of Nigeria had 170 walled towns.
Now you won’t believe this; writings dating back to 915AD reveal that cheques were being used in Ghana as early as the 10th century. Ibn Haukal, an Arab Geographer, visited Ancient Ghana and in his writings, tells of a cheque worth 42,000 golden dinars that was written by a trader in Sidjilmessa to a merchant in Audoghast!
But that’s just a tip of the iceberg. Here are 10 lesser known facts about the Black History that will leave you in complete shock.
1. West Africans were wearing bling as early as 1067 AD
Sources mention that when the Emperor of Ghana gave an audience to the people, he sat in a pavilion surrounded by horses caparisoned in “golden cloths.” Behind the Emperor would be ten pages with shields and gold mounted swords. The sons of the princes, splendidly clad with gold-plated hair, sat to his right. Even the dogs that guarded the chambers had golden collars!
2. Some people were just so rich!
West Africa had a lot of gold in those days. So, you’d expect that quite a number of merchants who traded in the commodity were filthy rich. However, one man, a Malian ruler was maybe just too rich for his time. On his pilgrimage to Mecca, the man brought back so much money with him that it caused a collapse of gold prices in Arabia and Egypt. It took 12 years for things to return to normal.
3. Timbuktu had a population of 115,000 in the 14th century
This was 5 times more than London! Timbuktu is a Malian city. It had a famous Mosque named Djinguerebere built by Mansa Musa. The Mosque had a university which enrolled approximately 25,000 students. The city had 150 Koran schools that enrolled a total of 20,000 students. London by then had a population of 20,000.
4. A Tunisian city, Carthage had a population of 700,000 in the 3rd century BC
Carthage was a coastal city of Tunisia, “opulent and impressive.” On either side of its three main streets were tall buildings some of which were estimated to have been up to 6-storey or more.
5. 11 underground churches in Ethiopia
Ethiopia has 11 churches below the ground. These churches were built around the 12th century when Roha became the Ethiopian capital. Roha was conceived as the New Jerusalem and its founder, Emperor Lalibela oversaw the building of the underground churches. All the churches are carved out of rock and lie at least 11 meters below the surface. The largest of the eleven is the Redeemer which is 33.7m x 23.7m x 11.5m (L x W x H).
6. South Africa has at least 600 ruins
These are stone built ruins and can be found in the regions of present-day South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The largest of the ruins was known as The Great Zimbabwe which had 12 clusters of buildings and spanned 2 square miles.
See Also: 10 Famous Warriors in History
7. East Africans were making steel 1,500 years ago
Evidence discovered in 1978 shows that people living on the shores of Lake Victoria produced carbon steel in preheated draft furnaces. This technology, according to research, was far much advanced than what was available in Europe until midway through the 19th century.
8. Surgery was practised in Uganda in the 18th century
Research shows that surgeons routinely used anaesthetics, antiseptics and cautery iron in their work.
9. Housing units with bathrooms and piped water in nineteenth-century Sudan
An archaeologist describes the complexes as having “un-encountered” spatial layout with water installations and bathrooms complete with heating systems. The interiors were decorated with murals.
10. Africans are pioneers of basic arithmetic
This happened about 25,000 years ago. The Ishango bone, a tool with notches carved into it, was first discovered in Ishango, Zaire (now DRC). The bone had several arithmetic signs on it. For example, the first row had three notches curved next to six, four next to eight and finally five next to ten. Isn’t that doubling? (3 x 2 = 6, 4 x 2 = 8, 5 x 2 = 10)!
There is plenty more mind-boggling facts out there, some of which will even scare you. Feel free to dig deeper for more facts about the black history.