An Overview of Black History

Compiled & Edited by Phillip True, Jr.

8. Crete and Phoenicia

The ancient Crete civilization has been referred to as the Minoan culture, named after King Minos. The ancestors of the Cretans were natives of Africa, a colony of western Ethiopians, who dwelt in the grasslands of North Africa before that area became a desert. As the Sahara expanded, these Africans took to the sea, and in Crete and the neighboring islands, set up maritime culture.

By 1700 B.C., this civilization had reached its peak. The Sea Kings of Crete at Knossus ruled over the region that became the cultural center of the eastern Mediterranean.

The Palace of Minos contained a throne room, a chapel, storerooms, and bathrooms with terra cotta bathtubs, fitted with drains quite modern in construction. They were made of faucet-joined pipes superior to any known to the later Romans and unequaled until the nineteenth century.

 The Minoan palace royalty was but a replica of Egyptian royalty, and the very name of Minos seem to be only a slight alteration of the name of the first Egyptian Pharaoh, Aha Mena or Menes.

In 1420 B.C., the eruption of the volcano on the Santorini Island had a catastrophic effect on the people of Crete. All the Islands in the sea of Aegea and Crete were covered with a layer of volcanic dust ten centimeters thick. A cloud covered the area for several days and the tidal wave (tsunami) destroyed the entire coastline. The cities of Cnossus, Mallia, Hagia, Amonisos, Gournia, and Triada were destroyed. The gas fumes poisoned the population, causing illnesses such as bronchitis and digestive disorders.

After the explosion on the Santorini Island, most of the surviving population is thought to have moved from Crete to continental Greece and Asia Minor.

Phoenicia and Greece proper are believed to have benefited from the invasion of the Cretans after the Santorini eruption and the culture and civilization that came with the new inhabitants.

The Phoenicianns were known as the first great mariners and merchants of the ancient world, who adapted many of the cultural elements of the Egyptians. We first hear of these people as dwellers on the shores of the Persian Gulf. And later, they colonized the land of Canaan. Hence, calling themselves Canaanites. These mariners manufactured a famous dye called Royal Purple, which the Greeks later referred to as Phoenix, from the term Phoenicians.

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