John Newton was a press-ganged sailor, a slave, a slave-ship captain, an Anglican priest, an abolitionist, and the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”
The Central African hairy frog can break its own bones and stick them through its skin as impromptu claws.
The Ishango bone, found in what is today part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and dating back 20,000 years, may contain some of the earliest evidence of mathematical thought.
From the 15th to the 19th century CE, the Akan used sets of ornate statues as a measurement system for weighing gold dust, but also encoding and reinforcing cultural knowledge at the same time.
In 1377 the Tunisian Arab historian Ibn Khaldun listed seven mistakes made by contemporary scholars, and then he made the same mistakes.
At the start of this year the largest free trade agreement in the world came into effect, with the goal of connecting the entire African continent.
In 1987 the army of Chad won a war against a more powerful Libyan force. The Libyans had tanks and aircraft; Chad had a fleet of Toyota pickup trucks.
Enrico Fermi switched on the first human-made nuclear reactor in 1942, but the first natural nuclear reactor on Earth occurred 1.7 billion years earlier.
In the 9th century CE, a town in what is now Nigeria produced the most masterful bronze artefacts in the world.
Clicks are used in several languages of southern and eastern Africa, most famously in Xhosa. The sounds make Xhosa songs and tongue twisters sound amazing.
The Epic of Sundiata, describing the rise of the first ruler of the Mali Empire, was passed down by griots – West African bards – for over six hundred years before it was written down.
In 1929 Bavarian architect Herman Sörgel proposed building a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar and shrinking the Mediterranean.
In the late 19th century CE Sierra Leone and surrounds, high quality iron needles tied into bundles served as currency.
The Danakil Depression in the Afar Triangle, Ethiopia, is the point where three tectonic plates diverge; has the highest average annual temperature on the planet; and Lucy, the Australopithecus fossil, was found there.
Between 1746 and 1792, seventeen students of Carl Linnaeus set out across the globe to collect plant and animal samples for his new taxonomy. Seven of these apostles died on the trip, and one would betray Linnaeus.
The loneliest tree in the world was knocked over by a drunk driver in 1978. The new loneliest tree in the world is very close to the southernmost point of New Zealand.