Thomas Fuller, African slave and savant?

An African mathematician in the early 1700's (below)

Charles Reason, African American mathematician in 1850

Kelly Miller, first Black graduate student

A Contemporary History of Blacks in Mathematics


Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Fullani al-Kishnawi,

an African Mathematician in the early 1700's

Born in Nigeria

Unlike the 18th century Ghanian Anto Amo, who worked and lived in Europe, Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Fullani al-Kishnawi spent his life career in the middle east. He was a Falani from northern Nigeria. He traveled to Egypt and in 1732 he wrote a manuscript (in Arabic) of procedures for constructing magic squares up to order 11. As words of encouragement to the reader he writes:

Do not give up, for that is ignorance and not according to the rules of this art ... Like the lover, you cannot hope to achieve success without infinite perseverance. [ref Gwarzo, Hassan Ibrahim]

Muhammad died in Cairo in 1741.

Note general construction methods of magic squares appeared in the countries of Islam in the 9th century, and the science of magic squares arrived there at its zenith in the 11th and 12th centuries. From the 13th century, magical and divinatary applications began to replace of mathematical study. Classical construction methods survived, however, in later treatises of a certain level, such as that by Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Fullani al-Kishnawi.

A god student article:

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