Later today, Arsenal FC of England will take on Barcelona FC of Spain in a game of football. But did you know that the ancient Chinese were the first to play the game? They called it Cuju, and some of its rules have remained to this day.

But that is just one, take a look at the other 9 things we should be grateful to the ancient Chinese for inventing.

1. Gun Powder

While searching for an immortality potion, 9th Century Taoists accidentally discovered a combination of substances that would change our world forever. They called it “fire medicine”.

2. Seismograph

In 2nd Century China, people believed that the deity ‘Heaven’ could bring down natural disasters on a bad ruler. So, Zhang Heng, astronomer to Emperor Shun of Han, invented the seismograph – an instrument that measures and records details of earthquakes, such as force and duration – to help high officials deal with the threat.

3. Football

Cuju was an early form of football during the Song dynasty (960 – 1270 AD). Long before the English Football Association, cuju had clubs, managers and written rules. The main etiquette central to the game was that players were not allowed to hog the ball, a rule that exists to this day in modern football.

4. Civil Service

In the 3rd Century, China became the first country to establish a civil service. Working for the government was based on merit. But from the 8th Century, candidates had to demonstrate a proficiency in poetry composition to merit a position in the service; it was something of an entrance examination!

5. Ice Cream

Yes! So, the next time you tuck into your favourite flavour of ice cream, remember that the ancient Chinese made that sweet relish a possibility!! Most people claim that Marco Polo brought some ice cream back to Europe upon his return from China in the 13th Century, effectively introducing the Europeans to this sweet dessert.

6. Paper

It was a 2nd Century Chinese invention that transformed the way people communicated. Yet, it wouldn’t become widespread in Europe until the 14th Century.

7. Compass

Invented in the 1st Century by the Chinese. The compass would later revolutionise exploration and global commerce, making it possible for explorers like Christopher Columbus to discover the Americas, and making modern air travel safer and easier.

8. Bank Notes

Yes, the concept of the Naira was copied from the British Pounds Sterling, who like all others, copied the art of making bank notes a legal tender from the ancient Chinese who invented this piece of commodity, hence transforming our financial lives.

9. Porcelain

In the 6th Century, the Chinese were the first in the world to make porcelain. But Europeans wouldn’t learn the tricks of the trade until the 18th century – that is between 1701 and 1800!

10. Toilet Paper

Surprised? Toilet paper is thought to have been first used in ancient China.

And there goes the list of the 10 inventions we all should be grateful to the ancient Chinese for.