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Old 08-12-2014, 03:34 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,872,849 times
Reputation: 2263

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mapmd View Post
Also in a completely separate topic: Where is the African Coliseum? The Parthenon? The Colossus at Rhodes? Even a Stonehenge? Where are the thousands of Castles or towns with parallel and perpendicular streets?

Where are even the ruins or remnants of such things? Did the colonists steal the ruins from under the ground too?

We have evidence of planned cities of 40,000 inhabitants going back 8,000 years (6,000 B.C.) at Harappa and Ur. Africa doesn't even have such designs today, in fact most roads are still mud and travel is slow, arduous and dangerous...and that's without the perils of armed gangs or rebel groups or even just corrupt police/officials at checkpoints.
Well, there is the Great Mosque at Djenne. The many Egyptian monuments, and the Empires centered on the Nile.

While you have dismissed the Meroitic script, the Kush and Nubian kingdoms south of Egypt left ruins thousands of years old.

Carthaginians (descended from Phoenicians) established a major rival to Greek, then Roman power. They traded heavily with subsaharan Africans, and allied with neighboring Berber kingdoms.

Classical city-states in present-day Somalia left ruins from their cities that flourished due to sea trade.

The Aksum Kingdom in Ethiopia and Eritrea left obelisks, among other ruins.

The ruins of cities, thousands of years old, are found in West Africa, which flourished through agriculture and Saharan trade. See Tichit, for example, as well as the Nok (Nigeria), Yoruba (Nigeria), and Bini (Benin).

You neglected to discuss the Bantu languages in your linguistic discussion. Those languages are from subsaharan Africa, and connect to the people who populated much of the lower half of the continent. The Bantu Expansion led to Bantu-speaking people dominating huge swathes of the African continent. They built Great Zimbabwe. Additionally, towns and cities dating back thousands of years have been located in the areas dominated by Bantu.

For other monuments of pre-colonial Africa existing today, see:

Bete Medhane Alem
Nubian pyramids at Meroe
Speos Artimedos
The temple at Yeha
Sankore Mosque
Tomb of Askia
Sheikh Darod's Tomb
Almnara tower
The Walls of Benin (which were once 4x larger than the Great Wall)
Iyo of Benin
Sungbo's Eredo
Aksum
Ouadane
Chinguetti
Tichit
Oualata
Khami
Lamu
Ambohimanga
Kilwa Kisiwani
Loropeni ruins
Senegambian stone circles
Stelae of Tiya

As to your contention that "Africa doesn't even have such designs today, in fact most roads are still mud and travel is slow, arduous and dangerous...and that's without the perils of armed gangs or rebel groups or even just corrupt police/officials at checkpoints," it is both unfortunate and flawed.

First, present day conditions in some parts of Africa have no connection to pre-colonial civilization on the continent. Greek toilets don't even flush paper, and Athens was the cradle of Western Civilization? I kid.

Second, for cities, take a look at Algiers, Khartoum, Bulawayo, St. Louis, Windhoek, Kumasi, Johannesburg, Bamako, Dakar, Cape Town, Accra, Nairobi, Libreville, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Port Louis, Luanda, Durban. Your post spouts stereotypes of an entire continent and evidences zero knowledge about its diversity and reality.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:46 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 2,507,518 times
Reputation: 6751
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
Well, there is the Great Mosque at Djenne. The many Egyptian monuments, and the Empires centered on the Nile.

While you have dismissed the Meroitic script, the Kush and Nubian kingdoms south of Egypt left ruins thousands of years old.

Carthaginians (descended from Phoenicians) established a major rival to Greek, then Roman power. They traded heavily with subsaharan Africans, and allied with neighboring Berber kingdoms.

Classical city-states in present-day Somalia left ruins from their cities that flourished due to sea trade.

The Aksum Kingdom in Ethiopia and Eritrea left obelisks, among other ruins.

The ruins of cities, thousands of years old, are found in West Africa, which flourished through agriculture and Saharan trade. See Tichit, for example, as well as the Nok (Nigeria), Yoruba (Nigeria), and Bini (Benin).

You neglected to discuss the Bantu languages in your linguistic discussion. Those languages are from subsaharan Africa, and connect to the people who populated much of the lower half of the continent. The Bantu Expansion led to Bantu-speaking people dominating huge swathes of the African continent. They built Great Zimbabwe. Additionally, towns and cities dating back thousands of years have been located in the areas dominated by Bantu.

For other monuments of pre-colonial Africa existing today, see:

Bete Medhane Alem
Nubian pyramids at Meroe
Speos Artimedos
The temple at Yeha
Sankore Mosque
Tomb of Askia
Sheikh Darod's Tomb
Almnara tower
The Walls of Benin (which were once 4x larger than the Great Wall)
Iyo of Benin
Sungbo's Eredo
Aksum
Ouadane
Chinguetti
Tichit
Oualata
Khami
Lamu
Ambohimanga
Kilwa Kisiwani
Loropeni ruins
Senegambian stone circles
Stelae of Tiya

As to your contention that "Africa doesn't even have such designs today, in fact most roads are still mud and travel is slow, arduous and dangerous...and that's without the perils of armed gangs or rebel groups or even just corrupt police/officials at checkpoints," it is both unfortunate and flawed.

First, present day conditions in some parts of Africa have no connection to pre-colonial civilization on the continent. Greek toilets don't even flush paper, and Athens was the cradle of Western Civilization? I kid.


Second, for cities, take a look at Algiers, Khartoum, Bulawayo, St. Louis, Windhoek, Kumasi, Johannesburg, Bamako, Dakar, Cape Town, Accra, Nairobi, Libreville, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Port Louis, Luanda, Durban. Your post spouts stereotypes of an entire continent and evidences zero knowledge about its diversity and reality.
Don't forget:

Audoghost
Gondar Castle
Lallabella
Gede
Zazzau- Amina's walls
Kano city walls

Also, to your point, it is not really fair to deride Meroitic or Geez for being derived from outside languages, when ancient Greek writing did so as well (derived from Phoenician).

Geez, Meroitic, and even Ajami count as African writing systems. As I pointed out before, there were various African proto-writing systems such as Nsibidi and Adrnika as well.
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:17 PM
 
Location: London, NYC & LA
842 posts, read 653,950 times
Reputation: 684
A lot of boring sterotypes are being thrown about.

With regards to written language, one can argue the same about Europeans as they developed no real script of their own either, especially Northern Europeans. The Latin Alphabet is from the middle east..

It is hypocritical to claim that sub-saharan Africans merely copied Arabic when Europeans did exactly the same thing with their alphabet and numerical system. In fact the numerical system derived from the arabs was actually called the 'arabic method' by the Italian merchants who first encountered it.

Nsibidi was a sub-saharan African invention independently developed in the Nigerian region of Africa.

The fact is the original question raised by the poster was correct. Africa did have feudal societies that can be understood as a culture and this history was largely erased by colonialism. Colonialism's biggest crime above resource theft was that it painted Africa and Africans as being without history or achievements of their own.

The bronzes and artwork shown in the pictures posted by users, some of which are up 700 years old show this isn't the case. In fact the most common lie that Africans generally wore no clothing is knocked on its head by scribes, dignitaries and warriors shown in full ceremonial garb/armour. Likewise some kingdoms like the Hausa, Oyo and Shonghai kingdoms deployed cavalry successfully. In fact Hausa cavalry was so effective, it took the British a number of years to subdue the Hausa of northern nigeria despite the advantage of having modern weaponry.

As for the people posting Africans had no culture, I think only the development of nations like Nigeria or Ghana will resolve this issue. It took the rise of China and Japan, before Europeans began to respect East Asian cultures. Until then they were commonly referred to as 'nips', 'yellow n***rs' etc, populations only capable of imitation. Only now will you see articles exploring the fact that China was the worlds largest economy for centuries in the past and had a attained a level of development well above that of Europe centuries before.

Likewise Africa has had some civilizations like the Benin Empire, Ashanti Empire, Shonghai and Yoruba City State cultures that were relatively well developed. In fact Nigeria's large population is a reflection of the fact that it had multiple population centres like Ife, Benin City, Oyo, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano founded well before European arrival.

Such discussions like this are tedious, with a mix of trolling and outright prejudice being displayed in most posts.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:55 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 2,507,518 times
Reputation: 6751
Quote:
Originally Posted by nograviti View Post
A lot of boring sterotypes are being thrown about.

With regards to written language, one can argue the same about Europeans as they developed no real script of their own either, especially Northern Europeans. The Latin Alphabet is from the middle east..

It is hypocritical to claim that sub-saharan Africans merely copied Arabic when Europeans did exactly the same thing with their alphabet and numerical system. In fact the numerical system derived from the arabs was actually called the 'arabic method' by the Italian merchants who first encountered it.

Nsibidi was a sub-saharan African invention independently developed in the Nigerian region of Africa.

The fact is the original question raised by the poster was correct. Africa did have feudal societies that can be understood as a culture and this history was largely erased by colonialism. Colonialism's biggest crime above resource theft was that it painted Africa and Africans as being without history or achievements of their own.

The bronzes and artwork shown in the pictures posted by users, some of which are up 700 years old show this isn't the case. In fact the most common lie that Africans generally wore no clothing is knocked on its head by scribes, dignitaries and warriors shown in full ceremonial garb/armour. Likewise some kingdoms like the Hausa, Oyo and Shonghai kingdoms deployed cavalry successfully. In fact Hausa cavalry was so effective, it took the British a number of years to subdue the Hausa of northern nigeria despite the advantage of having modern weaponry.

As for the people posting Africans had no culture, I think only the development of nations like Nigeria or Ghana will resolve this issue. It took the rise of China and Japan, before Europeans began to respect East Asian cultures. Until then they were commonly referred to as 'nips', 'yellow n***rs' etc, populations only capable of imitation. Only now will you see articles exploring the fact that China was the worlds largest economy for centuries in the past and had a attained a level of development well above that of Europe centuries before.

Likewise Africa has had some civilizations like the Benin Empire, Ashanti Empire, Shonghai and Yoruba City State cultures that were relatively well developed. In fact Nigeria's large population is a reflection of the fact that it had multiple population centres like Ife, Benin City, Oyo, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano founded well before European arrival.

Such discussions like this are tedious, with a mix of trolling and outright prejudice being displayed in most posts.
In general this is an extremely good post and I intend to rep it, but this business about China being ahead of Europe is mostly myth. If you go back to the ancient or even medieval world, there is nothing in China with the kind of engineering quality of a Roman aqueduct or the Flavian Ampitheater. They built mostly in wood and earth, and there is very little ancient architecture left because it was all built cheaply. The Great Wall as we see it (which is really just a big wall with nothing impressive about it other than its length) is a an invention of the early modern era...the original was made of mud. By the time they started building their wall in stone, Europe was already on its way to developing the innovations that would make it the world's master for 500 years.

I do not know for sure, but I do not believe that there is the same kind of body of ancient literature in China as in the West, and there sure was not the same kind of historiography.

Many great inventions that are oft attributed to China such as the compass, were independently invented in Europe at a similar time.

Of course they had the biggest economy...they were the most populous nation. It is the same reason they are number 2 today despite having a miniscule per capita income.


In all fairness, I have seen it to where people have argued certain points that I cannot comment on, such as China was better at making steel. But the bottom line is that in terms of letters, architecture, engineering, science, art, etc. the West was almost always at least equal to China in much of the ancient and high medieval worlds. This false business about China's superiority comes from the fact that Europe has suffered two crushing dark ages that they had to recover from over the course of hundreds of years.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:34 AM
 
Location: London, NYC & LA
842 posts, read 653,950 times
Reputation: 684
Thanks, I appreciate your response. With regards to China the issue is one of consistency, whereas Europe has a broken history with "two dark ages", China's is relatively unbroken. Modern Han Chinese can look at Chinese written 2000 years ago and still get the gist of what is written. No other culture comes close to that level of sheer continuity. Hence why many describe China as a "civilisation masquerading as a Nation state".

While the west certainly was equal to China in recent history and certainly surpassed it in what we call the modern age. Where you and I depart is with regards to the past. China along with India in terms of overall wealth and sophistication have at points been far ahead of Europe. You said you "believe that China did not have the same body of literature as that in Europe", this viewpoint depends on how you look at it. For one, Europe after Rome has been composed of many different little states, each duplicating and competing in producing variants of the same literature. China suffered from the success of becoming what is in effect one large economic bloc very early in its history. As a result its literature was the creation of one huge state if you will, which was peerless in the local region in which it resided. But interestingly studies of say Mathematics, shows that the Chinese had independently developed Calculus by the 3rd century. Even pi was known up to 7 decimal places in the 4th century and this remained the most accurate calculation in the world for up to 900 years!

This is the reason why when the Europeans arrived and boasted of advanced science, most of the methods the Europeans displayed were already known to the Chinese. Read about the expedition of McCartney to China in 1793, it makes for amusing reading. The Chinese viewed the British as just another tribute nation paying its respect to the middle kingdom, around which the rest of the world supposedly rotated in Chinese eyes. The British were oblivious to this fact at the time and the misunderstanding on both sides is palpable. Linked to this the Chinese perhaps rightly concluded no other culture had reached their level of sophistication, as they had developed and maintained a system of standardised political entrance examinations in the form of the Confucian examination system (which had been around for two millenia) It is also the reason why to this day a political apparachik in London Westminster is known as a Mandarin.

Finally the economic size / population argument is a weak one. As in the west, the per capita statistic is relatively meaningless as money is not divided remotely equally amongst the Chinese population. The same is even more true for India which now boasts more billionaires than Japan. Absolute wealth is all that matters and in the long run, China will ultimately be able to bring more resources to bear on say miltary technology, owing to its larger economy than say America. The same was true in the past as China launched huge fleets on a scale Europe never really achieved in antiquity.

As for the architecture argument, that is one of geography and culture. If an alien went to America going first to LA and then onto New York. If the alien didnt know the cities were part of the same civilisation, the alien would quickly conclude that the soaring high rises of manhattan were indication of a superior culture. China much like California suffers from earthquakes and even one of the oldest pagodas in China Fogong Temple, barely survived the multiple earthquakes over time. Likewise if you go Palo Alto or LA, homes are low rise. As people didnt dare go high rise until modern advances in architectural technology.

But we are going off topic as the discussion is Africa and its history, not the West vis a vis Asia
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:54 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,504 posts, read 17,716,813 times
Reputation: 30786
There is so much emphasis on hoping for and justifying thin evidence that one's ancestors 'invented' a civilization.

Civilization is the root of social stratification (the class system), slavery, excessive toil, and so many other social ills. Civilization is the mechanism by which power can be concentrated in a small number of individuals in order to oppress the rest of the population.

I'll take the noble barbarian life anyday.
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Old 08-27-2014, 01:51 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,872,849 times
Reputation: 2263
Quote:
Originally Posted by cachibatches View Post
In general this is an extremely good post and I intend to rep it, but this business about China being ahead of Europe is mostly myth. If you go back to the ancient or even medieval world, there is nothing in China with the kind of engineering quality of a Roman aqueduct or the Flavian Ampitheater. They built mostly in wood and earth, and there is very little ancient architecture left because it was all built cheaply. The Great Wall as we see it (which is really just a big wall with nothing impressive about it other than its length) is a an invention of the early modern era...the original was made of mud. By the time they started building their wall in stone, Europe was already on its way to developing the innovations that would make it the world's master for 500 years.

I do not know for sure, but I do not believe that there is the same kind of body of ancient literature in China as in the West, and there sure was not the same kind of historiography.

Many great inventions that are oft attributed to China such as the compass, were independently invented in Europe at a similar time.

Of course they had the biggest economy...they were the most populous nation. It is the same reason they are number 2 today despite having a miniscule per capita income.


In all fairness, I have seen it to where people have argued certain points that I cannot comment on, such as China was better at making steel. But the bottom line is that in terms of letters, architecture, engineering, science, art, etc. the West was almost always at least equal to China in much of the ancient and high medieval worlds. This false business about China's superiority comes from the fact that Europe has suffered two crushing dark ages that they had to recover from over the course of hundreds of years.
The archaelogical record supports the existence of bronze tools and urban settlement in China about 4000 years ago. While there is some dispute about the extent of the ancient empire of China, there is little doubt that the emergence of Chinese civilization was around the time of or shortly after the rise of civilizations in the Indus River Valley, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and mainland Greece/the Greek Isles (along with others--Nubia, Punt, Anatolia, etc.).

I think that archaeologists tend to agree on 6 independent civilizations emerging from prehistoric time: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Andean, Mesoamerican, Chinese, Indus.

We know, of course, that Egyptians traded with sub-Saharan Africans, including as far south as present-day Ethiopia/Somalia.

In Europe's classical era, I think the evidence suggests that China was at least as developed as the contemporaneous Greek and Roman empires. By Alexander the Great's reign, China had developed Taoism and Confucianism. The Han Dynasty, one of China's golden ages, is a counterweight to the Roman Empire, both in time, wealth, and power.

The post-classical period was a "Dark Age" for Europe, while China's Tang Dynasty was another golden era of Chinese civilization.

China's 1300 census (an apparatus non-existent in other parts of the world) identified the nation's population as 60 million. That's 1/5 of the present-day US population!

If I had to pick a time when European civilizations surpassed Chinese civilization, I would pick the date of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). At this time, the Manchu conquered China in a bloody war that resulted in the Qing Dynasty. Estimates of casualties are immense--as many as 25 million according to John Roberts' A Short History of the World. Europe's "Age of Discovery" created global trade networks, and Westphalia slowed centuries of constant tribal warfare amongst the European proto-States, and ushered in an era of relative stability.

China's ancient, classical, and "Medieval" achievements are legion. The Chinese invented paper, which should be a sign that Chinese writing, literature, and history were at the global forefront. Chinese woodblock printing was the world's first form of printing (and therefore mass media). In conjunction, China subsequently developed movable type. China developed gunpowder, and applied it militarily in the form of catapult firebombs used for siege warfare. The compass was in use for navigation in China 100-200 years before any known use of compass-navigation in Europe. The cultivation of silk, rice, and soybeans all began in China. Paper currency was first used in China, as was deep borehole drilling.

China developed civil service examinations to staff its bureaucracy by the 6th century. Britain's own civil service exams were inspired by the Chinese examinations . . . in the 19th century.

There is a ton of other good stuff listed here: List of Chinese inventions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Other than the heights of the Roman Empire, European civilization was well behind that of China until about the 17th century.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Maryland
18,620 posts, read 16,419,369 times
Reputation: 6347
Quote:
Originally Posted by nograviti View Post
A lot of boring sterotypes are being thrown about.

With regards to written language, one can argue the same about Europeans as they developed no real script of their own either, especially Northern Europeans. The Latin Alphabet is from the middle east..

It is hypocritical to claim that sub-saharan Africans merely copied Arabic when Europeans did exactly the same thing with their alphabet and numerical system. In fact the numerical system derived from the arabs was actually called the 'arabic method' by the Italian merchants who first encountered it.

Nsibidi was a sub-saharan African invention independently developed in the Nigerian region of Africa.

The fact is the original question raised by the poster was correct. Africa did have feudal societies that can be understood as a culture and this history was largely erased by colonialism. Colonialism's biggest crime above resource theft was that it painted Africa and Africans as being without history or achievements of their own.

The bronzes and artwork shown in the pictures posted by users, some of which are up 700 years old show this isn't the case. In fact the most common lie that Africans generally wore no clothing is knocked on its head by scribes, dignitaries and warriors shown in full ceremonial garb/armour. Likewise some kingdoms like the Hausa, Oyo and Shonghai kingdoms deployed cavalry successfully. In fact Hausa cavalry was so effective, it took the British a number of years to subdue the Hausa of northern nigeria despite the advantage of having modern weaponry.

As for the people posting Africans had no culture, I think only the development of nations like Nigeria or Ghana will resolve this issue. It took the rise of China and Japan, before Europeans began to respect East Asian cultures. Until then they were commonly referred to as 'nips', 'yellow n***rs' etc, populations only capable of imitation. Only now will you see articles exploring the fact that China was the worlds largest economy for centuries in the past and had a attained a level of development well above that of Europe centuries before.

Likewise Africa has had some civilizations like the Benin Empire, Ashanti Empire, Shonghai and Yoruba City State cultures that were relatively well developed. In fact Nigeria's large population is a reflection of the fact that it had multiple population centres like Ife, Benin City, Oyo, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano founded well before European arrival.

Such discussions like this are tedious, with a mix of trolling and outright prejudice being displayed in most posts.
The African stared upon the oceans and never wondered what lied beyond, to me that is the biggest indictment. All of the other stuff you mentioned while true to varying degrees, when put together doesn't change the fact that most of Africa before colonialism lacked any hint of what most would consider developed or even marginal civilizations.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:20 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,872,849 times
Reputation: 2263
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
Well, there is the Great Mosque at Djenne. The many Egyptian monuments, and the Empires centered on the Nile.

While you have dismissed the Meroitic script, the Kush and Nubian kingdoms south of Egypt left ruins thousands of years old.

Carthaginians (descended from Phoenicians) established a major rival to Greek, then Roman power. They traded heavily with subsaharan Africans, and allied with neighboring Berber kingdoms.

Classical city-states in present-day Somalia left ruins from their cities that flourished due to sea trade.

The Aksum Kingdom in Ethiopia and Eritrea left obelisks, among other ruins.

The ruins of cities, thousands of years old, are found in West Africa, which flourished through agriculture and Saharan trade. See Tichit, for example, as well as the Nok (Nigeria), Yoruba (Nigeria), and Bini (Benin).

You neglected to discuss the Bantu languages in your linguistic discussion. Those languages are from subsaharan Africa, and connect to the people who populated much of the lower half of the continent. The Bantu Expansion led to Bantu-speaking people dominating huge swathes of the African continent. They built Great Zimbabwe. Additionally, towns and cities dating back thousands of years have been located in the areas dominated by Bantu.

For other monuments of pre-colonial Africa existing today, see:

Bete Medhane Alem
Nubian pyramids at Meroe
Speos Artimedos
The temple at Yeha
Sankore Mosque
Tomb of Askia
Sheikh Darod's Tomb
Almnara tower
The Walls of Benin (which were once 4x larger than the Great Wall)
Iyo of Benin
Sungbo's Eredo
Aksum
Ouadane
Chinguetti
Tichit
Oualata
Khami
Lamu
Ambohimanga
Kilwa Kisiwani
Loropeni ruins
Senegambian stone circles
Stelae of Tiya

As to your contention that "Africa doesn't even have such designs today, in fact most roads are still mud and travel is slow, arduous and dangerous...and that's without the perils of armed gangs or rebel groups or even just corrupt police/officials at checkpoints," it is both unfortunate and flawed.

First, present day conditions in some parts of Africa have no connection to pre-colonial civilization on the continent. Greek toilets don't even flush paper, and Athens was the cradle of Western Civilization? I kid.

Second, for cities, take a look at Algiers, Khartoum, Bulawayo, St. Louis, Windhoek, Kumasi, Johannesburg, Bamako, Dakar, Cape Town, Accra, Nairobi, Libreville, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Port Louis, Luanda, Durban. Your post spouts stereotypes of an entire continent and evidences zero knowledge about its diversity and reality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardA View Post
The African stared upon the oceans and never wondered what lied beyond, to me that is the biggest indictment. All of the other stuff you mentioned while true to varying degrees, when put together doesn't change the fact that most of Africa before colonialism lacked any hint of what most would consider developed or even marginal civilizations.
You missed my earlier post (amongst others by other posters) that demonstrates pre-colonial African civilization.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:06 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 2,507,518 times
Reputation: 6751
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
The archaelogical record supports the existence of bronze tools and urban settlement in China about 4000 years ago. While there is some dispute about the extent of the ancient empire of China, there is little doubt that the emergence of Chinese civilization was around the time of or shortly after the rise of civilizations in the Indus River Valley, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and mainland Greece/the Greek Isles (along with others--Nubia, Punt, Anatolia, etc.).

I think that archaeologists tend to agree on 6 independent civilizations emerging from prehistoric time: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Andean, Mesoamerican, Chinese, Indus.

We know, of course, that Egyptians traded with sub-Saharan Africans, including as far south as present-day Ethiopia/Somalia.

In Europe's classical era, I think the evidence suggests that China was at least as developed as the contemporaneous Greek and Roman empires. By Alexander the Great's reign, China had developed Taoism and Confucianism. The Han Dynasty, one of China's golden ages, is a counterweight to the Roman Empire, both in time, wealth, and power.

The post-classical period was a "Dark Age" for Europe, while China's Tang Dynasty was another golden era of Chinese civilization.

China's 1300 census (an apparatus non-existent in other parts of the world) identified the nation's population as 60 million. That's 1/5 of the present-day US population!

If I had to pick a time when European civilizations surpassed Chinese civilization, I would pick the date of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). At this time, the Manchu conquered China in a bloody war that resulted in the Qing Dynasty. Estimates of casualties are immense--as many as 25 million according to John Roberts' A Short History of the World. Europe's "Age of Discovery" created global trade networks, and Westphalia slowed centuries of constant tribal warfare amongst the European proto-States, and ushered in an era of relative stability.

China's ancient, classical, and "Medieval" achievements are legion. The Chinese invented paper, which should be a sign that Chinese writing, literature, and history were at the global forefront. Chinese woodblock printing was the world's first form of printing (and therefore mass media). In conjunction, China subsequently developed movable type. China developed gunpowder, and applied it militarily in the form of catapult firebombs used for siege warfare. The compass was in use for navigation in China 100-200 years before any known use of compass-navigation in Europe. The cultivation of silk, rice, and soybeans all began in China. Paper currency was first used in China, as was deep borehole drilling.

China developed civil service examinations to staff its bureaucracy by the 6th century. Britain's own civil service exams were inspired by the Chinese examinations . . . in the 19th century.

There is a ton of other good stuff listed here: List of Chinese inventions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Other than the heights of the Roman Empire, European civilization was well behind that of China until about the 17th century.

I don't want to derail the thread, but for fun, lets take up the Europe VS China thing in another thread when we both have some time to get into it.

I am a big admirer of the Nubians, the Ethiopians, and the West African civilizations, mostly the Mali empire. I read Ibn Battuta not long ago.
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