By Evette D. Champion
When history talks about the contributions of the Moors who were people brought to Europe, people often wondered about their racial makeup. If you look in the dictionary, you would see that Moors is defined as #black and often used instead of the term “negro.”
Much like the original Egyptians, the first Moors were from Africa, according to Chancellor Williams who is a noted author and historian.
So what contributions can be accredited to the Moors?
- Universal Education- As the Moors made their way through Spain, they brought a way of learning that would spread across Europe through the centuries. Throughout Moorish Spain, the citizens could read and write, while 99 percent of Christian Europe was illiterate. In terms of universities, Europe only had two while the Moors had seventeen.
- Fashion and Hygiene- Our standards for fashion and hygiene can be attributed to a Moors man, Abu l-Hasan Ali Ibn Nafi. He was known for choosing season appropriate clothing and even had the idea for having different clothing for the time of the day. You can thank him for creating deodorant and promoting the idea of regular baths. As a fashion forward man, he was also credited for stylized shaving for men and created new hairstyle trends.
- Cuisine- Not only had Abu l-Hasan Ali Ibn Nafi been accredited with fashion and hygiene, but he also shaped local cuisine by introducing new types of produce into recipes. He also shaped how many times we should eat per day and how it should be served. Overall, the Moors introduced oranges, lemons, sugar cane, ginger, and many more crops that are found in Spain today.
- Street Lights, Hospitals, and Public Baths- During the 10th century, when much of Europe had seemingly forgotten many of the advances from the Romans circa 600 years prior, you may be surprised to learn that there were street lights, hospitals with running water, libraries, mosques, and even public baths. Thanks to the Moors mastering hydraulic engineering, they were able to build an aqueduct which brought water down from the mountains and to the city of Cordoba (the capital of Moorish Spain).
- Medicine- Abu al-Quasim practiced medicine for fifty years, and created numerous innovative and surgical instruments that were essential when performing delicate surgeries. He also penned a medical book which would go on to be the primary text book for medical training in the Western world for 500 years.
- Flight- The Moors were curious people and with that curiosity, Ibn Firnas was the first to try his hand at human flight in 875 A.D. While he was able to fly in a controlled situation, the landing proved to be less than successful.
- Improving on Agricultural Techniques- With the introduction of many new crops, the Moors also brought with them an extensive knowledge of irrigation and how to cultivate crops. From the Moors, the Europeans also learned how to build and use underground silos which could store grain for close to 100 years.
- Making Paper- Moors brought the skill of making paper to Spain, which aided in the expansion of the libraries and recording history. Xativa, which is in Valencia, was credited for having the first paper factory in Europe.