Why did Europe belatedly attain civilization?

Historical research shows that Europe, which officially carries itself today as the oldest continent is in fact the last continent to have experienced civilization.

Indeed history shows that civilization, born in Africa and taken to its climax by Blacks in Egypt, existed also in Asia and America, millennia before the birth of the first European civilizations (Ancient Greece, Rome, etc.). The birth of the first European civilization, that is to say, the Greek civilization, dates back to the 9th century, which is about 800 years before the beginning of the present era.

So why did Europe belatedly attain civilization?

It is because of the climate. Indeed, research shows that the European continent experienced long periods of cold weather. The last major glaciation in Europe is called the Wurm Glaciation or Wurmian Glaciation. This glaciation lasted about 120,000 years and ended around 10,000 years ago. Over that period, the European continent was going through times of fierce cold, snow or ice, with polar temperatures.

Due to those difficult climate conditions, humans in Europe could not – for a long time – unlock the secrets of nature, tame and transform it in order to develop civilizations. Humans in Europe were rather concerned about their survival in those difficult and even extreme conditions. Thus, men and women in Europe had long lived in caves near the fire, in order to warm up and survive because venturing out for too long to observe nature and many more implied exposing oneself to the risk of dying from the cold.

At the end of the great Wurm glaciation (around 10,000 BC), weather seasons (summer, autumn, winter, spring) began to gradually take place. But these constantly repeated changes of season (unstable climate) began to affect nature (e.g.: vegetation that regrows or dries out in hot or cold weather). It disturbed the sedentarization and organization of humans in Europe for a long period.

Drawing depicting the lifestyle of women and men in Europe under those difficult climate conditions and in those very old and prehistoric times. It shows humans living in caves, hence the notion of cavemen that Europeans use to describe their prehistoric humans. And it is the reason why we see rock paintings left by those cavemen.

The Europeans according to the climate variations (summer = heat, winter = always cold, et al.) wandered and nomadized for a long time, following the rhythm of the seasons in search of a suitable weather and lands where they would be able to settle. And when one lives a nomadic life, they live in instability. And since they constantly move around, there is no time to build, construct or develop anything like a civilization that could leave vestiges in a sustainable and relevant way.

The Europeans – because of their difficult, cold, unstable and constantly changing climate – struggled for a long while to master nature, make progress and develop what is necessary for the birth of civilizations. This is why they were delayed for a long time in their evolution.

Since the Europeans had difficulties to evolve because of the climate, they had to gradually draw the elements of civilization from other peoples and civilizations that preceded them, particularly in Africa and Asia (The East et al.).

This is why for example, concerning the first European civilization (Ancient Greece), Professor Jean Pierre Vernant, in his book Myth and Thought among the Greeks (Mythe et pensée chez les Grecs), pub. La découverte, Paris, 1985, tells us that: “The Greeks therefore used observations, techniques, instruments that others had developed.”

Thus, for example, the Greeks came to study and get their knowledge in Africa, in the Pharaonic civilization. The Greeks admit that they were civilized by Black Egypt in all their writings. The Greeks, therefore, never claimed to have invented everything (science, philosophy, etc.) unlike the Westerners who claim today that the Greeks invented everything (science, philosophy, etc.).

So, thanks to the comprehensive knowledge taken, learned or copied from other peoples, Europeans were able to find ideas for the birth of their first civilizations.

As a consequence, even if the Europeans like to show and promote their history and their historical remains (Colosseum et al.), history shows that Western European civilization is the latest and youngest one among the civilizations across the world since Europeans are historically the last to have known civilization.

View of the Acropolis in Athens Greece. All these old monuments found in Europe are the most recent in the long history of humankind.

By: Lisapo ya Kama © (All rights reserved. Any copying or translation of the text of this article is strictly forbidden without the written approval of Lisapo ya Kama)


  • Cheikh Anta Diop, Civilisation ou Barbarie (Civilization or Barbarism)
  • Jean Pierre Vernant, Mythe et pensée chez les Grecs, pub. La découverte, Paris, 1985
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