The history of Ethiopia could also be called the history of humanity. The question is not if this history is well documented, but why it is not taught widely in schools. The time necessary to study the tomes that refer to the Nubians as the forbearers of our civilization is enormous. The world owes Ethiopia for its history, astronomy, agriculture and all the other sciences, and John G. Jackson gave ample references to validate this claim. Ethiopia’s history is incredible and a treasure to the world and it is a shame that it has been distorted by the persistent Eurocentrism.


2017 Reprint of 1939 Edition. This essay is an effort to highlight the influence of Ethiopia in the history of Civilization. It also devotes consider time to suggesting that Ethiopia’s contribution has been either misunderstood or intentionally ignored by mainstream historians and scholars. Jackson culls research from Archaeology, Comparative Religion, History and Classical Antiquity to propose that contributions from Ethiopia were at the forefront of many of the developments later taken credit for by “White” scholars.


The late Professor George A. Dorsey noted that “H. G. Wells’ heart beats faster in nearly every chapter of his OUTLINE OF HISTORY, because he cannot forget that he is Nordic, Aryan, English, British, white, civilized.” (WHY WE BEHAVE LIKE HUMAN BEINGS, p. 40) This patriotic zeal of Mr. Wells’ has, in truth, caused him to suppress certain facts that do not fit into his pet theories. In the latest edition of his OUTLINE OF HISTORY, Mr. Wells ends his chapter on The Early Empires with the following remarks :— “No less an authority than Sir Flinders Pètrie gives countenance to the idea that there was some very early connection between Colchis (the country to the south of the Caucasus) and prehistoric Egypt. Herodotus remarked upon a series of resemblances between the Colchians and the Egyptians.” (Wells’ NEW AND REVISED OUTLINE OF HISTORY, p. 184, Garden City, 1931.) It would have been proper for Wells to have quoted the remarks of Herodotus, so as to give us precise information on the series of resemblances between the Colchians and the Egyptians. Why he did not do so we shall now see. In Book II, Section-104, of his celebrated History, Herodotus states :— “For my part I believe the Colchi to be a colony of Egyptians, because like them they have black skins and frizzled hair.” (See any English translation of THE HISTORY of HERODOTUS. The translation by Professor George Rawlinson is the best. See also W. E. B. DuBois, THE NEGRO, p. 31, and Count Volney’s TRAVELS IN EGYPT AND SYRIA, Vol. I, pp. 80-81.) After discussing the civilizations of Egypt, Babylonia and India, Wells had already referred to them as a “triple system of white man civilizations.” (OUTLINE OF HISTORY, Chap. XIII, Sect. 5, p. 175.) On concluding that the civilization of Egypt was a white man civilization, he naturally would be careful not to quote the above passage from Herodotus.

Most history texts, especially the ones on ancient history, start off by telling us that there are either three, four or five races of man, but that of those races only one has been responsible for civilization, culture, progress and all other good things. The one race is of course the white race, and particularly that branch of said race known as the Nordic or Aryan. The reason for this is obvious; the writers of these textbooks are as a rule Nordics, or so consider themselves. However, prejudice alone will not account for this sort of thing. There is a confusion among historians and anthropologists concerning the proper classification of races, and this confusion is used by biased writers to bolster up their preconceptions. It is therefore necessary that we discuss the subject of race classification in a rational manner before proceeding further.

The early scientific classifications of the varieties of the human species were geographical in nature. The celebrated naturalist, Linneaus (1707-1778), for instance, listed four races, according to continent, namely: (1) European (white), (2) African (black), (3) Asiatic (yellow), and (4) American (red). Blumenbach, in 1775, added a fifth type, the Oceanic or brown race. This classification is still used in some grammar school Geographies, where the races of man are tabulated as :— Ethiopian (black), Caucasian (white), American (red), Mongolian (yellow) and Malayan (brown). During the year 1800, the French naturalist, Cuvier, announced the hypothesis that all ethnic types were traceable to Ham, Shem and Japhet, the three sons of Noah. After that date race classification developed into an amazing contest; a struggle which still rages. By 1873, Haeckel had found no less than twelve distinct races of mankind; and to show the indefatigable nature of his researches, he annexed twenty-two more races a few years later, bringing the grand total of human types up to thirty-four. Deniker, in 1900, presented to the world a very imposing system of race classification. He conceived of the human species existing in the form of six grand divisions, seventeen divisions and twenty-nine races. And despite all this industry among anthropologists, ethnologists and the like, there is yet no agreement on the classification of races. Where one anthropologist finds three racial types, another can spot thirty-three without the least difficulty.

The classifiers of race, however, regardless of how abundantly they disagreed with each other as to the correct groupings of human types, were of unanimous accord in the belief that the white peoples of the world were far superior to the darker races. This opinion is still very popular, but modern science is making it hard for intelligent people to accept the fallacy. Many years ago the German philosopher, Schopenhauer, remarked that, “there is no such thing as a white race, much as this is talked of, but every white man is a faded or bleached one.” Schopenhauer possessed keen and sagacious foresight on this point. For example, the English scholar, Joseph Mc-Cabe, expresses the following view as the consensus of opinion among modern anthropologists :— “There is strong reason to think that man was at first very dark of skin, woolly-haired and flat-nosed, and, as he wandered into different climates, the branches of the race diverged and developed their characteristics.” (KEY TO CULTURE, No. 11, p. 10.) Professor Franz Boas, the nestor of American anthropologists, has divided the whole human race into only two divisions. This classification of Boas’ is admirably explained by Professor George A. Dorsey: “Open your atlas to a map of the world. Look at the Indian Ocean: on the west, Africa; on the north, the three great southern peninsulas of Asia: on the east, a chain of great islands terminating in Australia. Wherever that Indian Ocean touches land, it finds dark-skinned people with strongly developed jaws, relatively long arms and kinky or frizzly hair. Call that the Indian Ocean or Negroid division of the human race.

“Now look at the Pacific Ocean: on one side, the two Americas; on the other, Asia. (Geographically, Europe is a tail to the Asiatic kite.) The aboriginal population of the Americas and of Asia north of its southern peninsula was a light-skinned people with straight hair, relatively short arms, and a face without prominent jaws. Call that the Pacific Ocean or Mongoloid division.” (WHY WE BEHAVE LIKE HUMAN BEINGS, pp. 44-45.) Professors A. L. Kroeber and Fay-Cooper Cole are of the opinion that the peoples of Europe have bleached out enough to merit classification as a distinct race. This would add a European or Caucasoid division to the Negroid and Mongoloid races of the classification proposed by Professor Boas. If we accept this three-fold division of the human species, our classification ought to read as follows :— the races of man are three in number; (1) the Negroid, or Ethiopian or black race; (2) the Mongoloid, or Mongolian or yellow race; and (3) the Caucasoid or European or white race. This is the very latest scheme of race classification.

Now that we have straightened out ourselves on the issue of the classification of races, we may properly turn to the main subject matter of this essay, i.e., the ancient Ethiopians and their widespread influence on the early history of civilization. In discussing the origin of civilization in the ancient Near East, Professor Charles Seignobos in his HISTORY OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATION, notes that the first civilized inhabitants of the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates valleys, were a dark-skinned people with short hair and prominent lips; and that they are referred to by some scholars as Cushites (Ethiopians), and as Hamites by others. This ancient civilization of the Cushites, out of which the earliest cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia grew, was not confined to the Near East. Traces of it have been found all over the world. Dr. W. J. Perry refers to it as the Archaic Civilization. Sir Grafton Elliot Smith terms it the Neolithic Heliolithic Culture of the Brunet-Browns. Mr. Wells alludes to this early civilization in his OUTLINE OF HISTORY, and dates its beginnings as far back as 15,000 years B. C. “This peculiar development of the Neolithic culture,” says Mr. Wells, “which Elliot Smith called the Heliolithic (Sun-stone) culture, included many or all of the following odd practices: (1) Circumcision, (2) the queer custom of sending the father to bed when a child is born, known as Couvade, (3) the practice of Massage, (4) the making of Mummies, (5) Megalithic monuments (i.e. Stonehenge), (6) artificial deformation of the heads of the young by bandages, (7) Tattooing, (8) religious association of the Sun and the Serpent, and (9) the use of the symbol known as the Swastika for good luck. . . . Elliot Smith traces these associated practices in a sort of constellation all over this great Mediterranean – Indian Ocean-Pacific area. Where one occurs, most of the others occur. They link Brittany with Borneo and Peru. But this constellation of practices does not crop up in the primitive home of Nordic or Mongolian peoples, nor does it extend southward much beyond equatorial Africa. . . . The first civilizations in Egypt and the Euphrates-Tigris valley probably developed directly out of this widespread culture.” (OUTLINE OF HISTORY, pp. 141-143.)

“The efforts of certain historians to classify these ancient Cushites as Caucasoids does not deceive honest historical students any longer. This may well be illustrated by a passage from the pen of our scholarly friend Bishop William Montgomery Brown: “For the first two or three thousand years of civilization, there was not a civilized white man on the earth. Civilization was founded and developed by the swarthy races of Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt, and the white race remained so barbaric that in those days an Egyptian or a Babylonian priest would have said that the riffraff of white tribes a few hundred miles to the north of their civilization were hopelessly incapable of acquiring the knowledge requisite to progress. It was southern colored peoples everywhere, in China, in Central America, in India, Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt and Crete who gave the northern white peoples civilization.” (THE BANKRUPTCY OF CHRISTIAN SUPERNATURALISM, Vol. II., p. 192.

More excerpts…

In the study of ancient affairs, folklore and tradition throw an invaluable light on historical records. In Greek mythology we read of the great Ethiopian king, Cephus, whose fame was so great that he and his family were immortalized in the stars. The wife of King Cepheus was Queen Cassiopeia, and his daughter, Princess Andromeda. The star groups of the celestial sphere, which are named after them are called the ROYAL FAMILY—( the constellations :—CEPHEUS, CASSIOPEIA and ANDROMEDA.) It may seem strange that legendary rulers of ancient Ethiopia should still have their names graven on our star maps, but the voice of history gives us a clue. A book on astrology attributed to Lucian declares that : “The Ethiopians were the first who invented the science of stars, and gave names to the planets, not at random and without meaning, but descriptive of the qualities which they conceived them to possess; and it was from them that this art passed, still in an imperfect state, to the Egyptians.”The Ethiopian origin of astronomy is beautifully explained by Count Volney in a passage in his RUINS OF EMPIRES, which is one of the glories of modern literature. And his argument is not based on guesses. He invokes the weighty authority of Charles F. Dupuis, whose three monumental works, THE ORIGIN OF CONSTELLATIONS, THE ORIGIN OF WORSHIP and THE CHRONOLOGICAL ZODIAC, are marvels of meticulous research. Dupuis placed the origin of the zodiac as far back as 15,000 B. C, which would give the world’s oldest picture book an antiquity of 17,000 years. (This estimate is not as excessive as it might at first appear, since the American astronomer and mathematician, Professor Arthur M. Harding, traces back the origin of the zodiac to about 26,000 B. C.) In discussing star worship and idolatry, Volney gives the following glowing decription of the scientific achievements of the ancient Ethiopians, and of how they mapped out the signs of the zodiac on the star-spangled dome of the heavens:

“Should it be asked at what epoch this system took its birth, we shall answer on the testimony of the monuments of astronomy itself, that its principles appear with certainty to have been established about seventeen thousand years ago, and if it be asked to what people it is to be attributed, we shall answer that the same monuments, supported by unanimous traditions, attribute it to the first tribes of Egypt; and reason finds in that country all the circumstances which could lead to such a system; when it finds there a zone of sky, bordering on the tropic, equally free from the rains of the equator and the fogs of the north; when it finds there a central point of the sphere of the ancients, a salubrious climate, a great but manageable river, a soil fertile without art or labor, inundated without morbid exhalations, and placed between two seas which communicate with the richest countries; it conceives that the inhabitant of the Nile, addicted to agriculture from the nature of his soil, to geometry from the annual necessity of measuring his lands, to commerce from the facility of communications, to astronomy from the state of his sky, always open to observation, must have been the first to pass from the savage to the social state; and consequently to attain the physical and moral sciences necessary to civilized life.

“It was, then, on the borders of the upper Nile, among a black race of men, that was organized the complicated system of the worship of the stars, considered in relation to the productions of the earth and the labors of agriculture. . . . Thus the Ethiopian of Thebes named stars of inundation, or Aquarius, those stars under which the Nile began to overflow; stars of the ox or bull, those under which they began to plow; stars of the lion, those under which that animal, driven from the desert by thirst, appeared on the banks of the Nile; stars of the sheaf, or of the harvest virgin, those of the reaping season; stars of the lamb, stars of the two kids, those under which these precious animals were brought forth. . . . Thus the same Ethiopian having observed that the return of the inundation always corresponded with the rising of a beautiful star which appeared towards the source of the Nile, and seemed to warn the husbandman against the coming waters, he compared this action to that of the animal who, by his barking, gives notice of danger, and he called this star the dog, the barker (Sirius). In the same manner he named the stars of the crab, those where the sun, having arrived at the tropic, retreated by a slow retrograde motion like the crab or Cancer. He named stars of the wild goat, or Capricorn, those where the sun, having reached the highest point in his annuary tract, . . . imitates the goat, who delights to climb to the summit of the rocks. He named stars of the balance, or Libra, those where the days and nights being equal, seemed in equilibrium, like that instrument; and stars of the scorpion, those where certain periodical winds bring vapors, burning like the venom of the scorpion.”(Volney’s RUINS OF EMPIRES, pp. 120-122, New York, 1926.)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.