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Agriculture in Mesoamerica Essays

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Agriculture was fundamental to prehistoric societies and an addictively trend that eventually replaced hunter-gathers societies. It has become debatable if agriculture produced Jordon Childe’s ‘Neolithic Revolution’ or that it served ulterior purposes in religious and social agendas but it is certain that it spread across the world possibly through natural cause or the direct influence of human activity. In the case of Mesoamerica these debates tend to favour agriculture as a revolution to improve sustenance and result from both the intentional actions of humans and the natural environment that endorsed productivity.
Agriculture expanded in Mesoamerica gradually due the ideal conditions that allowed natural expansion compared to the ‘Neolithic Revolution’ Jordon Childe suggests. Maize originated from teosinte much earlier than the innovation of pottery and before hunter-gather societies settled into villages. The variety of crops from agriculture result independently before spreading later to the American Southwest and the Northern America during the Formative period. The optimal foraging theory could explain the role of human actions in spreading of agriculture as a by-product of rational societies adapting from the Mesoamerican example for self-interest of reproducing valuable food sources. This belief was easily spread through group-to-group diffusion between societies within and later to Southwest America. However it is also vital to accept that the environment played a fundamental role in how agriculture in the Americas could spread so widely from Mesoamerica. Although maize was introduced into the Eastern North America as the dominant agricultural plant intensively, chenopods, marsh elder and sunflowers were domestic...


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...by the adaptability of maize, squash and beans to reproduce efficiently in the terrain and environment. Instead of the grand ‘Neolithic revolution’, it is suggested that the trend to agricultural dependency was gradual due to the stable environment and conservative use of agriculture by the societies in Mesoamerica to provide additional surplus in food resources conveniently. This accumulation of goods in surplus eventually initiated more complex societies consisting of social classes, chiefdoms and statecraft.



Works Cited

Chazan 2008, Pg. 205.
Chazan 2008, Pg. 211.
Chazan 2008, Pg. 209.
Merrill, Hard, Mabry, Fritz, Adams, Roney & MacWilliams 2009, Pg. 21020.
Chazan 2008, Pg. 214.
Merrill et al. 2009, Pg. 21023.
Bowles 2011, Pg. 4763.
Chazan 2008, Pg. 206.
Chazan 2008, Pg. 206.
Bowles 2011, Pg. 4764.
Merrill et al. 2009, Pg. 21024.


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