What influence did Africa have on Western society and culture?

No offence, but you are really wrong. What you have done, is ignore thousands of years of culture and importance because you simply are ignorant.

First of all, as you are fairly new to reddit, please make sure you read the subreddit rules. Lets look at what these points say shall we? The first two points are:

1) Do I have the expertise needed to answer this question?

2) Have I done research on this question?

If I may assume that you are American, then what you have done is ignore every part of African culture that predates the 17th and 18th century slave trade from Western Africa into America.

So shall we take a look at some of the major parts of history that you have ignored?

First of all, Egypt. Everyone has heard of Ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs, the pyramids, the worshipping of cats. But sharryhanker, you ask, what does any of this have to do with Western Culture? Well for one, the development of papyrus was very important in terms of writing in any culture. Before this, writing had been largely limited to inscriptions and carvings on stone, which are obviously much more impractical than papyrus.

Secondly, the alphabet. Heiroglyphics were not the first alphabet, but they did serve as the basis for the Phoenecian alphabet, which in turn served as the basis for the Greek alphabet (Howard, 2012: 23), which led to the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. And I'd hope that I do not need to explain the importance of these two particular alphabets.

Next of all we'll have a look at Augustine of Hippo, one of the most important early Christian theologians, a Saint, and a very important figure for both Catholic and Protestant Christians. Hippo was born in Thagaste, in what is now Algeria, and converted to Christianity in 387CE in Milano, Italia. From 395 to 430CE he served as the bishop of Hippo (also in modern day Algeria).

Augustine is the basis for a number of Christian arguments:

1) The idea of a Just War, although often thought of to have been created by Thomas Aquinas, it was Augustine who coined the idea and the phrase in his work The City of God (Mattox, 2006: 20)

2) Augustine taught that the Original Sin of Adam and Eve was an act of foolishness that was caused by pride. Satan helped to cause this by sowing the radix Mali (root of all evil) into their minds when he suggested that they eat the apples.

3) On the topic of free will, Augustine stated that whilst humans were all created with free will, free will was not created for sins. What this means is that only good actions are the result of free will, whereas sin impairs free will and causes the action to become evil.

Next, to quote /u/sulmagnificent in his above answer we see about Constantine the African (died before 1099CE)

A graduate of Carthage, he moved to Italy as a merchant. When a wealthy man got sick he was awestruck at the ignorance of the Italian doctors and felt that he had a duty (or he saw an opportunity to make some cash) to bring classical and Arabic knowledge to Italy. He became a Benedictine monk and translated the works of Razes Ali Ibn Massaouia Baghdad, Ibn Imran, Ibn Suleiman, and Ibn Al-Jazzar into Latin. This book became the standard medical textbook for the Europeans from the middle ages all the way up to the mid 1600's (almost 500 years).

This is just three examples from an entire continent that does not just consist of the slave trade. Please do some research, and think before you post.


Howard, M, 2012. Transnationalism is Ancient and Medieval Socieites

Mattox, J, 2006. Saint Augustine and the Theory of Just War

/r/AskHistorians Thread