When the Europeans came to Africa, they found it upon themselves to introduce trade and culture to the continent. The belief that Africa was created through colonialism, sort of, is still in use today. Interestingly, some of the issues now plaguing the continent are the vestiges of European colonization.

However, long before European colonization, Africa had its own forms of trade, science, art, and other measures of civilization and we will reveal them below.

MEDICINE

Africa’s healers were very well educated about plants, trees, roots, and their medicinal purposes. While this information is perishing at this age, it is still helpful as many African individuals tend to consult traditional healers whose treatments are often cheaper, more effective than Western medicine, with fewer to no side effects.

The greatness of African medicine is one case that well reflects that of childbirth. It is almost clear that we have individually perfected caesarean sections. As far back as the 18th century, Africans were masters of it.

In this operation, the instruments used were not scalpels, ether and overpriced beds, but banana wine that was used to perform episiotomies as an anaesthetic and reeds. Cauterization with hot iron prevented the bleeding. With the application of root paste and tree bark to bandage the injury, the patient was stitched up with iron spikes that were removed after six days.

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs/Medium.

Cotton Mather who introduced small-pox inoculation in the West learnt it from an African slave named Onesimus.

Ancient Egyptian doctors were renowned for their healing abilities in the ancient Near East, and some, including Imhotep, remained popular long after their deaths. Herodotus noticed that among Egyptian physicians, there was a high degree of specialization, with some treating only the head or the stomach, while others were eye-doctors and dentists.

The scientific knowledge of anatomy, accidents, and practical remedies is demonstrated by medical papyri. Though opium was used to alleviate pain, garlic and onions were regularly used to encourage good health, and symptoms of asthma were thought to be relieved.

KNOWLEDGE

Egypt and Kush, the ancient realms, predate any known to man. The largest library in the classical world, built in 295 BC, was located in Alexandria, Egypt, where Alexandra the Great lies.

The first civilization to establish a 365-day/12-month calendar was Egypt as well. In fields such as astronomy, physics and mathematics, the Egyptians were so sophisticated that the three pyramids of Giza coincide directly with the constellation of the Three Kings, as if it is not remarkable enough that no one alive today has a good understanding of how those monolithic architectural works were made.

From the 12th to the 16th centuries, three philosophical schools existed in Mali during the golden age of the country: Sankore University, Sidi Yahya University, and Djinguereber University.

Moulay Muhammad ben Abderrahman IV of Morocco
Moulay Muhammad ben Abderrahman IV of Morocco, surrounded by the Black Guard, receiving the British Delegation of Tangier, represented by Sir John Drummond-Hay and accompanied by his staff and family city in Fès, Morocco, November 23, 1868. Full Story.

By the end of the reign of Mansa Musa in Mali, Sankoré University had been converted from the Library of Alexandria into a fully staffed university with the largest collection of books in Africa.

The University of Sankoré was able to handle 25,000 students and had between 400,000 and 700,000 manuscripts in one of the largest libraries in the world.

Timbuktu was a major center for copying books, religious institutions, science, and the arts. Scholars and students from all over the world came to study at its university.

Watch the video below to know more about what Africa had before European Colonization.

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