North American Agriculture

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Around 10,000 BC life was changing for the people of North and South America. The mammoth was disappearing and bison became the main source of food and clothing for early Native Americans. As the large game was diminished from over hunting and natural causes, foraging for edible plants, seeds and berries became more important to the peoples survival.


All three originated from the southern Mexico or MesoAmerican area. Squash is named after the Massachuset Indian word askutasquash, meaning "not cooked". Anthropologists think squash may be a major factor in the transition of native people from hunter/gatherers to growers. "The fruits of wild squash were easy to find and offered flesh, nutritious seed, edible flowers and even containersmade from a hard-shell squash known as gourd" (Gilmer, 1). Summer squash is known as Curcurbita pepo, winter squash and pumpkins are C. maxima or C. moschata. All three species are native to the Western Hemisphere.
Beans are another of the oldest foods grown in North America and one of the oldest known to man. They have played a significant part in the diet of people for thousands of years. Beans were domesticated about 7000 years ago in both Peru and southern Mexico. Peru developed beans with bright colors and large seeds, while Mexico developed white and black beans with variations of patterns that were small seeded. The tribes in Mexico and Peru traveled across the continent spreading the beans and their techniques for growing these plants. As the New World was being discovered, many varieties of beans were already being successfully grown by the native people.
Corn dates back to it's origin as a grass on the Mexican plateau 80,000 years ago. ...
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