Maize In Pre Columbian America Essay

945 words - 4 pages

Maize is a wild plant and was discovered by Indians. It belongs to the same grass family as barley, rye, rice, wheat, and oats. When the Pilgrims landed in North America in 1620, the Indians gave them maize to eat. They also showed the Pilgrims how to grow maize. The Pilgrims called the maize “corn”, which mean grains and Americans still call it corn today. The word corn has a different meaning depending on what country you are in. According to the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State University, corn in England means wheat and in Scotland and Ireland, it means barley or oats (www.agron.iastate.edu).   By drawing on documents and reports from the Pre Columbian American era, I plan to ...view middle of the document...

Corn is made up of genes called jumping genes and depending on where they land, they can cause mutations resulting in red and yellow stripes and spots patterns.
There are many subspecies of corn. According to the Farm Family Project at Kenyon College, some of the common types are: Dent Corn which is indented at maturity and is often used as livestock feed; Flint Corn is known as Indian corn and is also used as field corn; Sweet Corn is primarily eaten on the cob or it can be canned or frozen for later; Flour Corn is primarily white and is used for baking because it is easy to grind; and Popcorn which turns to steam when heated and the kernel explode to form popcorn.
The ancestral corn looked different and was only a few inches long. The Native Americans transformed maize through special cultivation techniques (Prindle 1994). Maize was very important to Indians because it was their main food. They also used it to make fuel, stuff their mattresses with husks, for corncob pies, corn-shuck dolls, tamales, dry corn meal, and many other uses. They stored the excess maize in underground for winter food. When Christopher Columbus returned to Europe, he told about the grain the Indians grew and introduced it to the Europeans.
Corn was the most important cultivated plant in ancient times in America. According to Benson and Gibson, corn was tied to the development of the Midwest during the 19th century, specifically in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and neighboring states. In the early 1940s, corn yields showed significant increases due to advance technology, now today more than 40% of the world's corn is produced in the United States (Benson and Gibson 2002).
Thanksgiving is sacred to the Indians and the Green Corn Festival is their...

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