Plants Before Columbus

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Before Columbus, the Americas had plenty of domesticated plants. By the time Columbus had arrived, dozens of plants were in regular use, the most important of which were maize (corn), potatoes, cassava, and various beans and squashes. Lesser crops included sweet potato, papaya, pineapple, tomato, avocado, guava, peanuts, chili peppers, and cacao, the raw form of cocoa. Within 20 years of Columbus’ last voyage, maize had established itself in North Africa and perhaps in Spain. It spread to Egypt, where it became a staple in the Nile Delta, and from there to the Ottoman Empire, especially the Balkans. [...] Maize appeared in China in the 16th century and eventually supplied about one-tenth of the grain supply there.


In West Africa, peanuts

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