The years between the seventh and thirteenth centuries are the period in history when culture and learning flourished in North Africa, throughout Asia, on the western coastal area of Europe, (Spain, Portugal, Italy and France), and on the island strongholds along the western and southeastern coasts of Europe, (Gibralter, Rhodes, Sicily, Crete, and Cyprus.)24 When we set aside the vagaries of politics, intrigue, mistrust and suspicion which have plagued man's history, we find that the Arab World continued to spin out the thread of earliest recorded civilization, enhance and develop the arts and sciences, and preserve the libraries of the early centuries of Greek, Roman and Byzantine culture. Indeed, during the Dark Ages of Europe, much learning was preserved for the world through the Arab libraries in the universities of Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt (Fez, Timbuktu, and Al-Azhar). From this period of Arab influence, new words such as orange, sugar, coffee, sofa, satin, and algebra filtered into the language of Europe and eventually into our own. New discoveries were made in the sciences and arts which improved the lives and condition of man.
In mathematics, the Arab cipher, or zero, made workable the solution of complicated mathematical problems. The Arab numeral, an improvement on the original Hindu invention, and the Arab decimal system made simpler and more flexible the course of science.25