20 Shady Facts About The Color Black

Did you know that scientifically, the color black isn't even considered a color? It's just a complete lack of light.

    The color black has carried great significance since the dawn of humankind and has been repeatedly cast as the color of all things dark, evil, and suspicious.

    Be that as it may, humanity has found countless other meanings to the color, with many parts of the world giving it a positive spin.

    Take a journey with us as we uncover all the deepest, darkest facts about the color black!

    In terms of science, black isn’t a color at all – it’s what you get when there’s a complete lack, or absorption, of visible light.

    The color black is achromatic, just like white and grey. This means that it has no hue.

    Because there is no true black color, all “black” pigments and dyes really just look black. They’re made up of a combination of other pigments in specific combinations to reflect the least amount of light possible.

    In Old English, the word for the color black was “blæc,” which also meant “dark” and “ink.”

    It was one of the first colors used by humans to make art. Charcoal was first used to create the color, with burnt bones and ground manganese powder later used for a darker black pigment.

    In ancient Egypt, black was used in a positive light, as it was the color of the rich soil from the Nile and therefore associated with fertility. It was also the color of Anubis, the Egyptian underworld god who protected the dead from evil.

    Craftsmen and artisans in ancient Rome wore the color black, most likely because it easily covered up the dirt and grime from working such jobs. The natural black dyes used were not very strong, so their garments often faded away to brown or gray.

    Black was also the color of mourning in the Roman Empire, with the deceased’s family only changing their black togas (called toga pulla) for white togas after the mourning period.

    Just as the color white has come to represent all things good and holy, the color black is associated with evil and darkness. In Christianity, for example, the devil has been painted with black skin since at least the middle ages.

    It’s been used as the color of power and authority since the 13th century when judges and other court officials began to wear the color.

    Most of the world’s police forces wore black until the 20th  century. The color blue replaced it to make police appear less menacing to the general public.

    The color black was adopted wholeheartedly by fascists, starting with Benito Mussolini’s “Blackshirts,” Italian fascist paramilitary units. It was later adopted by Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany and was worn by the infamous SS.

    It has significant symbolic meaning to Muslims, as it is said to have been the color of the banner carried by the prophet Muhammad’s soldiers.

    Priests and monks from many different Christian denominations wear black robes, as they believe the color represents penitence and humility.

    On the other hand, black has completely different meanings in paganism, such as protection, stability, force, and dignity.

    Black panthers are not a species of their own. Instead, they are jaguars or leopards with recessive genes that give the animals excess melanin, which turns their skin black. If you look closely, their fur still has its characteristic markings.

    The expression “in the black” means to be profitable, as accountants originally wrote losses in red ink and profits in black ink.

    The first mass-produced car, the Model T Ford, was exclusively available in black for its first eight years in production.

    Black is also commonly associated with secrecy. For example, covert military operations are called black ops, and government budgets for classified or secret operations are called black budgets.

    The New Zealand rugby team came to be known as the All Blacks because of the color of their uniform, as opposed to choosing their uniform’s color based on their name. Whatever the reason, their uniform definitely looks powerful!

    Water droplets on a black background.

    Although some of the worst people in history have used the color black to represent them, the color always seems to find a way to stay in fashion. There’s just something about it that draws you in.

    Black is such a primal color; we can see all kinds of different colors during the day, but when we look up at the night sky, nearly all we see is black.

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About The Author

Shash Wighton
Shash Wighton

Shash is an avid traveler and enjoyer of all good things life can throw his way. These days you'll find him teaching English and writing, while running his own campervan business.

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