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Who was Abbas Ibn Firnas?

Abbas Ibn Firnas was born in 810 AD in Ronda, Andalucia, and lived in Cordoba, Spain, which was a centre of learning for the Muslim world. In his early life, Abbas Ibn Firnas studied medicine and astrology, but was more interested in engineering and making his own inventions. He also liked poetry and music.

He is best known for being the world’s first pilot. Abbas Ibn Firnas created the first glider, which inspired other inventors, the Wright brothers, to build the first aeroplane. This was built on the many years of research that Abbas Ibn Firnas had documented in a book.

One day, Abbas Ibn Firnas watched the first parachute test jump, and studied the nature of flight for the next 23 years. This eventually led up to him at age 70 building a pair of wings made of silk, wood and feathers. He jumped off a cliff and glided in the air for 10 minutes, proving his work to be a success. However, he injured his back when he crash-landed, but used it as a learning curve to suggest improvements to his invention. While he never tested flying again, he concluded that he needed a rudder as well as wings to make his invention work better. His research, which was recorded in a book, went on to inspire others who wanted to fly, including Leonardo Da Vinci.

Abbas Ibn Firnas lived to the age of 77, and while his light injury had stopped him from being physically active, his mind still raced to invent new things and better his current inventions.

His other achievements

His other inventions and achievements include having created clear glass used for correcting vision, a water clock and a device to cut rock crystal. Abbas Ibn Firnas’s achievements have been remembered in Baghdad, where an airport was named after him, and in Cordoba, there is a bridge named after him.

The Islamic Golden Age

Abbas Ibn Firnas was born in the Islamic Golden Age period, dated from mid-7th century to mid-13th century, which was a time in which Muslims all around the world, including philosophers, poets, artists, traders, and scholars all contributed to the economy, sciences, and technological advancements. Abbas Ibn Firnas contributed a lot to the development of technology and inventions. These contributions are what helped the Islamic Empire to become so strong.

The end of the Islamic Golden Age came in the 13th century, when the Mongols posed a threat to the Muslims. The Mongols, led by Genghis Khan, attacked the Muslims in Baghdad and took over, destroying many of the Muslim’s achievements. Baghdad was a centre of learning and knowledge for the Muslims, as well as a bustling trade centre. This ended the Golden Age in 1258 CE.

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