Attn. Rep. King: Non-European contributions to civilization

Recently US Representative Steve King of Iowa asked, out of what I think we can assume is a genuine and unfaked ignorance, “where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization [than Western Europeans]?”  Sadly, although none of his interviewers seemed inclined to agree with him, neither did they seem well equipped to answer his question.  This is not surprising, as little other than Western European history is taught in American schools, or even discussed or widely known.

The idea that one race did all the work, and the rest of the world is solely composed of parasites, is a dangerous and persistent fiction.  In the end, like other distortions of history, it serves no one’s best interests.  The actual fact is that modern civilization as we know it could never have existed without significant contributions from all over the world.  As a public service, here are just a few notable ones with non-European origins (or non-European influence).  Follow the supplied links for references and documentation.

Contributions to world civilization by…


The human race.

Ancient Egypt – one of the first great civilizations, an influence on Greek philosophy and science, and the acknowledged indispensable refuge for the founders of both Judaism and Christianity.

Nearly thirty other indigenous kingdoms and empires, some of which lasted several centuries and had a significant impact on world affairs, including Ghana, Mali, Benin, Aksum, and Songhai (Timbuktu).

St. Augustine.

Modern art.

THE AFRICAN DIASPORA (a demonstration of the rich benefits of combining cultural traditions):

Alexander Dumas, Alexander Pushkin.

Blues, Rock & Roll, Jazz, Ragtime, Dixieland, Hip Hop, Gospel, Soul, Funk, Mento, Calypso, Ska, Reggae and Dancehall (also, Punk Rock, Psychedelic RockBluegrassBarbershop, and Dubstep).


Judaism, Christianity.

The Islamic Renaissance (which kept Greek philosophy alive during Europe’s Dark Ages, and which preceeded and inspired the European Renaissance).

The Ottoman Empire, which lasted over six centuries, and, at its height, controlled large parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


Indo-Arabic Numerals, including the concept of the number zero.


The world’s largest film industry.


Paper, gunpowder, printing press, and the compass.

Philosophers followed by millions of people.

Empires and dynasties lasting for hundreds of years.


Pre-European American democracy.

First independent invention of the number zero.

First cultivation of corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, vanilla, tomatoes, papayas, avocados, pineapples, guavas, chili peppers, chocolate, cotton, rubber, and tobacco.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *