Agroecology and agriculture in general took a giant leap forward in 1492 when Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Previously, the New and the Old World only shared three species: sweet potato, bottle gourd, and coconut. Now that this New World had been discovered, there was much that could be gained, and it was more than just gold (Bermejo 1994).
Many attempts at growing crops in the new and very different environment proved frivolous, but others found success. In fact, it is known today that many crops reach their optimum yield in an environment that is different from their own. The first crops introduced into the Americas were the European grains, vegetables, and fruits; these were unsuccessful at first. However, some crops did adapt well to the tropical environment right from the beginning, including: bananas, sugar cane, and citrus fruits. Potatoes, tomatoes, gourds, beans, and chilies have all found their way into European cuisine; these crops all originated in the Americas. Rice, a now major player in Mexican food, was also introduced by the Spaniards. African grasses also replaced low yield grass species in Latin America. This giant exchange of species would completely change the world’s diet (Bermejo 1994).
Although explorers set out in a conquest for “God, gold, and Glory,” and did, in fact, satisfy all of those desires, they discovered something that was way more valuable than anything they could have ever imagined. They discovered a whole new world that had unlimited resources, land, plant species, and anything else they could ever use in their lifetime. In their conquest, however, they managed to almost wipe out a whole population, thousands of years of history, an...
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... from http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/wm/60.4/jones.html
Lopez, B. (1990) The Rediscovery of North America. The University Press of Kentucky. Lexington.
Sandberg, B. (2006). Beyond Encounters: Religion, Ethnicity, and Violence in the Early Modern Atlantic World, 1492-1700. Journal of World History, 17, Retrieved November 10, 2006, from http://historycooperative.press.uiuc.edu/journals/jwh/17.1/sandberg.html
Schwartz, B., D'Arcy, H., Schuman, H. (2005, April 1). Elite Revisionists and Popular Beliefs: Christopher Columbus, Hero or Villain?. Public Opinion Quarterly, 69, Retrieved November 10, 2006, from http://80elibrary.bigchalk.com.proxy.uwlib.uwyo.edu/libweb/elib/do/document?set=pbsissue&groupid=1&requestid=issue_docs&resultid=9&edition=&ts=22A09C01D33E00EEC1C57E5266921447_1163398443033&urn=urn%3Abigchalk%3AUS%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B106981986
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