You might notice that the contributions of ancient Africans to science and technology are not covered as often as their counterparts from other continents. People clearly know Isaac Newton’s role in discovering gravity. Globally, the 4 great inventions of ancient China (paper making, compass, printing and gunpowder) also enjoy their fair share of recognition.
However, there is hardly any similarly popularized contribution of the African continent in the field of science and technology. Does this mean ancient Africa has no contribution to science and technology? Of course not. This article shines the spotlight on some of the great achievements in science and technology from ancient Africa.
The origin of Aspirin is widely linked to the Western world and categorized as the brainchild of a German chemist, Felix Hoffman. However, research indicates that the use of plants that contained salicylic acid (the active ingredient in aspirin) was common among the ancient Africans as pain relievers. In fact, some modern-day medical procedures were originally practiced among different tribes in ancient Africa. Ancient Africans carried out procedures such as removing bullets and setting broken bones long before they became major procedures in Europe.
Metallurgy is one of the branches of science and technology that encompasses the processes involved in the production and purification of metals. Ancient Africans already distinguished themselves in this field years ago. Metallurgy was well developed among the Edo and Yoruba tribes of Nigeria, a West African country. From metal chisels, to copper and iron tools and weapons; Europeans recognized the fact that some of these advancements exceeded those that existed in their continent.
These metallurgic achievements were also recorded in African countries such as Rwanda and Tanzania thousands of decades ago. The metallurgic practices of these people were so pronounced that the furnaces of Ancient Tanzania were reportedly much warmer than those of the Romans.
Countries in Africa such as Egypt, Mali and Kenya made profound contributions to the development of science in the field of astronomy. From documenting the movement of the sun, constellations and cycles of the moon to creating clocks to measure time, ancient Africans have excelled in the field of astronomy. For instance, the Egyptians originally championed the 12-part division of a year. A tribe in Mali known as the Dogon tribe reportedly had knowledge and ceremonial traditions which revolved around the orbit of the system known as the Sirius star.
These are just a few of the achievements of ancient Africa in science and technology. The activities of ancient Africa deserve the right to be acknowledged as achievements. Not only did they impact their own civilizations, but they also impacted others that later arose.