A number of cultural groups have been credited with the invention of hair braiding, including Africans, Aztecs and Europeans. It is difficult to assign invention to a particular group or individual because hair braiding is a practice that dates back at least 5,000 years.
The braiding of hair was practiced in Africa as far back as 3500 B.C. Hair braiding was practiced on the wigs that royalty wore in ancient Egypt. Braiding was also seen as a social activity among women in Europe. The hair was often braided as a way to keep the tresses clean, as people did not bathe as often as they do today. Aztec women often used strips of colored cloth to braid into their hair.