BLACK CIVILIZERS OF EUROPE
By Maunfu 9
The so-called “Greek Miracle” was never to have a profound effect on European culture. In fact, the record shows virulent persecution of the major Greek thinkers by their own society for teaching concepts which were entirely foreign to their culture. By the 4th century, the temples and places of learning began to be shut down by the emperors of Byzantium. By the middle ages, Europe had sunk back into barbarism. But from the south – again – would come a new age of enlightenment ushered in by black Africans and black Asians from the Arabian peninsula.
As is the custom, these legendary figures have been whitened by academia and their influence erased. Yet it is clear that the sweeping wave of civilization brought in by these sons of Africa saved Europe from its backwardness and created the scientific and cultural foundation which would result in the European Rennaissance.
Over a period of 700 years, 4 superb Moorish dynasties would rule Spain, the Umayad, the Abbasid, the Almoravid and the Almohade.
Origin and Race of The Moors
The Black scholar Wayne Chandler traces the origin of the people called the Moors to an African people known as the Garamante. This civilization stood along important trading routes in the Sahara and existed contemporaneously with other great African civilizations including Egypt of the pre-Christian era. The Moors must be distinguished from the Berbers who were a mixed race people in North Africa resulting from the intermarriage between caucasian Libyans and indigenous Africans. Black Africans had beem called Maures (‘dark’) by the Greeks in antiquity and no distinction had been made between The Moorish tribes which would later invade Spain and their Black African kin. There was also to be an Arab component to these peoples and in order for this to be put in context, the racial composition of Arabia in antiquity must be understood. Much of the Arabian peninsular had originally been populated by Blacks. The area was a colony of the kingdom of Kush. Southern Arabia, in particular, remained black for a considerable period as the Greeks themselves attest.
With the coming of Islam, interaction between Moors and Arabs increased but research into the manuscripts and documents of medieval Europe emphatically demonstrates that the prevailing image of the Mooor – for the period – concerned was that of the black skinned, woolly haired African. The image occurs repeatedly in such famed works as Las Cantigas de Santa Maria , a 13th century manuscript of Moorish musical works translated by Spain’s King Alfonso X (El Sabio), one of the best known of Europe’s acquirers of Moorish texts. Numerous works such as these leave no doubt as to what race of people the term “Moor” referred to in medieval Europe.
Alfonso set up centres in cities such as Toledo for the express purpose of acquiring and translating these texts. There is no question that it was not until centuries later that the distinctions became blurred and the term Moor began to be used for various other ethnic groups as well.
The Conquest of Spain
The Ummayad Dynasty
By the end of the 7th century AD, the Islamic Jihad had swept through the Arabian peninsular and North Africa. It was the Moorish general Tarik-bin-Ziad who was given the task of spreading Moorish holdings northward into the Iberian peninsular. The catalyst for this action was the request by the Greek governor of Ceuta for help in emancipaton from the tyrany of the visigoth king Roderick who then ruled Spain.
Tarik and his black army swept up into Spain and defeated the Visigoths in successive stages – capturing and consolidating Spanish towns from the south includingToledo and Cordoba.
By 715 AD, the Ummayad dynasty had been established.It would rule Spain for over a century until 850 AD although their racial memory hes been erased, the achievements and monuments of the Moors still endure. The great Mosque at Cordoba, the Mezquita is an architectural marvel and is to this day considered one of the most magnificent buildings of the middle ages.
The Ummayad dynasty was followed by the Abbasid an Arab dynasty which usurped the throne in 750 AD. However, in 756 AD, the African Abdurrahmon led an army of African Moors up into the Iberian Penninsula, overthrew the Abbasid and re-established the Ummayad dynasty.
A description of Cordova gives an idea of the cultural excellence introduced by the Moors into Spain. Excerpted from The Golden Age of the Moor (pg 166) , a historian provides the following analysis:
“Cordova had 471 mosques, and 300 public baths……and the number of houses of the great and noble were 63,000 and 200, 077 houses of the common people. There were ….upwards of 80,000 shops. Water from the mountains was…distributed through every corner and quarter of the city by means of leaden pipes into basins of different shapes, made of the purst gold, the finest silver or plated brass as well into vast lakes, curious tanks, amazing resevoirs and fountains of Grecian marble.” The houses in Cordova were air conditioned in the summer by “ingeniously arranged draughts of fresh air drawn from the garden over beds of flowers, chosen for their perfume, warmed in winter by hot air conveyed through pipes bedded in the walls. Bathrooms supplied hot and cold water and there were tables of gold, set with emweralds rubies and pearls. This list of impressve works appears endless; it includes lampposts that lit their streets at night, to grand palaces, such as the one called Azzahra with its 15,000 doors. Rennaissance men like Zaryab.”
Over time, an ugly development in the history of the Moors began: The initiation and growth of the aquisition of white slaves as a prevalent aspect of its culture. The trade was began by a a Jewish element which began to buy and sell captured Slavs and Germans as laborers and concubines. the polygamous tendencies of the Islamic Black Moors encouraged this development and contributed to the lightening of the complexion of the Moorish element over time. It also contributed to a degeneration of values. The Ummayyad dynasty became ripe foe overthrow and in 1031 Christian forces achieved their defeat and brought the dynasty to a close.
The Almoravid Dynasty
The famous era of the Almoravids begins with The Black Muslim leader Ibn Yasin. Originally brought from Mecca, Yasin’s initial base of operations was in the area of Senegal in West Africa. He embarked upon an ambitious effort to convert all of the surrounding area to Islam through force. Over time, the Almoravids (from “Al-Murabitun”) conquered a vast area of west and northern Africa. In 1076, they overwhelmed and brought to an end the mighty Empire of Ghana itself . In 1086 AD, Yusuf Ibn Tashibin became aware of events in Spain, where Christians had long been persecuting Arabs and Moors. Yusuf invaded Spain to aid in its liberation. He is unequivocably described in the Moorish work Roudh-el Kartos as a black skinned African. Other matters back home in Africa however prompted him to return before the conquest was complete. He left his army to aid the Spaniards in their battle but was later informed that the local Spanish governers had left the Moors to do most of the fighting.
Yusuf in fury, ordered their replacement with Moorish rulers and there followed a splendid era of African rule which would not end until 1142 AD
The Almohade Dynasty
In 1145, the last Moorish dynasty came to power. African accomplishment in the penisular reached its apex. But Christian resolve had strengthened, and as Moorish culture grew more and more passive, Christian forces gained courage and began a campaign which recaptured territories from the blacks over the following centuries.
The Almohade dynasty had deep intellectual concerns and encouraged its thinkers and scholars to engage in great debates and expressions of ideas of both theological and secular nature. It is during the reign of this dynasty that the tower of Seville is constructed. And it is during this time that Abu-Al-Walid Mohamed ibn Mohamed ibgn Rashd, known to the West as Averroes established a peerless intellectual body of work in the arts and sciences which is revered to this day.
Ummayad savants and scholars initiated another intellectual revolution by ushering in and promoting:
Land reforms in Spain.
Support of the arts and sciences.
A rennaissance in knowledge as the wisdom of the ancient cultures was relearned through the works of the Greeks, Hebrews, Chinese, Persians.Translating all into Arabic.
They were the first to trace the curvilinear path of light through the air.(1100)
They achieved advances in chemistry including the invention of gunpopwder.
Discoveries in Astronomy and on the nature of the earth.
The invention of the Astrolabe and the compass.
The medical use of vivisection and dissection.
The Almohade dynasty was to last until 1230 when Christian forces drove the last Moorish elements out of Spain in successive campaigns. But Europe was to benefit imeasurably from the legacy of these Africans for centuries after the expulsion:
Absence of class system, such that any man (regardless of birth stature) could rise to any rank except that of supreme ruler. This was in marked contrast to the Visigothic Christians who were legendry in their cruelty and usery
The creation of hospitals with running water and the widespread construction of baths. Christian Europe held this rite of bating in contempt for centuries.
Numerous fabulous gardens.
Latrines with running water hundreds of years before the rest of Europe.
Paved streets and street lights. Numerous bookstores and a highly literate populace.
The Moors also took interior decoration to new heights in elaborate building ideas. This compares with the rest of Europe where most structures were barren, artless hulks without the minimum of utilities even for hygiene.
The Moors of Al Andalu (Spain) introduced advanced numerous crops and methods of soil productivity including irrigation, crop rotation and the use of manure. After harvesting, Moorish preservation and drying know-how meant that foods could endure and be edible for several years.
There were numerous schools and places of learning in Moorish Al-Andalus (Spain).
begining with the Univerity of Cordoba, other great institutions were built in Seville, Valencia, Mallarga and Granada. Like the ancient Greeks under the Egyptians , several of the most prominent European Catholic scholars studied under the African Moors in their institutions in Spain. The Moors translated all great works they could lay their hands on from the ancients into Arabic. This included the knowledge of Egypt, Kush, India, China and the Greece. Western historians point to the Greek component of these documents and attempt to paint the Moors as merely borrowers of Greek intellectual culture. This ignores the fact that Greek knowledge comes directly from Ancient Egypt and that there is convincing evidence that the Moors already possesed similar knowledge of their own from their homelands.
But this was not only limited to higher education. The Moors promoted literacy and the advancement of the general population. Schools were everywhere, many of them free of charge.
Again, far in advance of Western Europe, Moorish physicians were specially trained and highly regulated. They practiced surgery and cauterization and understood the importance of cleanliness in the operating environment.
Jose Pimienta Bey notes in Golden Age of the Moor (pg 211):
“Europeans offered no competition with Moorish advances in pathology, aetiology (study of diseases), therapeutics, surgery and pharmacology. Texts were written by Moorish physicians describing surgical technique and instruments that were used; doctors specialized in pediatrics, obstetrics, opthalmology, and in the treatment of hernias and tumors. Imamuddin tells us that Moorish scientists were even importing monkey skeletons from Africa for use in dissection when conditions prevented the use of cadavers.”
For the Andalusan Moor, scholarly endeavor was considered devine. The more one knew of one’s self and one’s World, the more one was sup[posed to know of one’s Creator. The ancient Kemetic creed “Know Thyself” was very much the creed of Andalus……….Rulers such as the Caliph Abd al-Rahman III, spent almost one-third of the state’s income on education. At a time when most Christan monarchs could not even write their own names, the Caliphs of Moorish Spain were often scholars.
The works of a number of Moorish savants were revered, translated and became required texts in the universities which later developed in Europe. These include Generalities on Medicine by Averroes, Solitary Regime by Avempace, Primus Canonis by Avicenna and Al-Tasrif, by Abulcasis, which became the predominant university medical text for Europe’s physicians.
It was the Moorish chemists such as Jabir who discovered nitric, nitro-muriatric and sulphuric acid. They were well versed in the science well before Europe.
Jose Pimienta-Bey notes the proximity of the founding dates of the major European universities to the translations of Moorish works by rulers such as Alfonso X of Spain. These centres of learning relied primarilly on Moorish texts for centuries
The Primary Source for this article is:
The Golden Age of the Moor. Edited by Ivan Van Sertima. Transaction Books, 1992.
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