African Contributions to Exploration


  • •1498; Ibn Madjid (long time resident of east Africa): Navigator for Vasco de Gama (Portuguese)
  • •1538; Estevanico commanded expedition to Arizona and Mexico. (Cortez & Pizarro)
  • •Kru of Liberia: interpreters, merchants traders, guides for British
  • 1909; Matthew Henson (along w/ commodore Peary) first African American to reach North Pole.

African Contributions to Science

  • 1730; Benjamin Banneker; invented first clock made in United States; drew plans for D.C.
  • 1856; Granville T. Woods; electrical railroad, automatic air brakes, telegraphic device for moving trains
  • 1843; Elijah McCoy, lubricator for steam engine (supplying oil to running machinery)
  • 1848; Lewis H. Latimer; incandescent electric light (Thomas Edison), wrote patent plans for telephone (Bell)
  • 1867; Charles Henry Turner; pioneer in entomology (study of insects)
  • 1951; Ben Carson; first to separate Siamese twins joined at back of the head

African Contributions to Spain

African Arabs came to rule Spain from 711-1492. With almost 800 years of domination, Africans made significant contributions to Spanish civilization.

African contributions include...

  • Monarchy (Abderramán)
  • Economy (most advanced society in Europe at that time)
  • Imports (imported rice, cotton, oranges & sugar cane to the Peninsula which were later exported and cultivated in the western ¨New World¨)
  • Industry (introduced mining which lead to the use of gold, silver, and other precious metals being used for jewelry (orfebrería).
  • Industry (introduced production of weapons)
  • Greek philosophy (introduced by Arabs (principally Aristotle, Averroes, & Moises Maimonides)
  • Literature (introduced eastern stories and poetry (zejel) which greatly influenced later Christian poetry)
  • Art/Construction (Mezquita, Alhambra, city of Zahra)
  • Language (15% of Spanish vocabulary is derived from Arabic. Some examples include ¨azahar, jazmin, café, alcohol, alubias, Guadalquivir, Gibraltar)
Alhambra & Gardens of Generalife
Mezquita de Córdoba

Historical Linguists

In western culture African-Americans are vastly underrepresented in world languages. Historically, Africans have mastered tribal, local and national languages. After colonization, Africans continued to speak diverse tribal languages. Given this rich linguistic heritage, African-Americans have mastered world languages with relative ease, some even before the Civil War! Enjoy the journey.

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