Questions tagged [agriculture]

For questions related to history of farming and breeding animals.

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3
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3answers
302 views

What are "the unconscious first steps of plant domestication" in "Guns, Germs, and Steel"?

In chapter 6 of Guns, Germs, and Steel, "To Farm or Not to Farm" (p. 111), Jared Diamond says that primitive harvesting tools like flint blades and grinding slabs were prerequisites to the ...
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6answers
6k views

Why are cereal grains so important to agriculture and civilization?

I was looking through a list of foodstuffs and noticed that nuts have far more energy content, fat content and protein content than cereals (relative to their mass). They don't seem to be especially ...
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1answer
119 views

Where did primitive settlements first start to occur outside of the Middle-East and Turkey? [closed]

Say when people as nomads, and started to form settlements with other people, where would these primitive settlements first started to appear, they would have first started to settle in regions around ...
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1answer
132 views

Why do certain foods (i.e. wheat and rice) dominate our carbohydrate intake? [closed]

Today most human consume wheat, rice, and to a less extent potato as the main carbohydrate source, even though there are other carbohydrate sources too (corn, barley, tapioca, etc). Why is that so? ...
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3answers
8k views

Did Native Americans really use fish as fertilizer?

Tisquantum (January 1, 1585 – November 30, 1622), also known as Squanto, was the Native American who assisted the Pilgrims after their first winter in the New World and was integral to their survival. ...
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2answers
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What was the main diet of pre-agricultural Asians?

The modern Asian diet is based mostly around rice. Was rice a major part of the paleolithic Asian diet? Did they know how to process and eat rice before agriculture? Aside from meats, what were other ...
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0answers
73 views

Did Persian Qanat water system influence Turpan Karez water system?

Based on Wikipedia, the Persian Qanat water system was started in cr. 1000 BC. The Turpan water system, located in modern north-west China, has a similar idea and later it was used on the Silk path ...
13
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4answers
4k views

What was the staple food of the natives of South East Asia before rice?

According to Wikipedia, history of rice, rice was first brought to South East Asia region across the caravan routes of the central Asian steppes. Now many of the subcontinental people of South East ...
3
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2answers
748 views

Why was silage only invented in the 19th century?

For thousands of years in the Northern climates mankind had to slaughter a large proportion of their livestock due to a shortage of winter fodder. What prevented mankind from using silage/haylage ...
4
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3answers
2k views

Were shipboard gardens ever typical?

La Pérouse brought fruit trees and an herb garden on his fatal voyage; his gardener also tended the root cellar. Through the ages, how common or uncommon has it been to cultivate plants aboard a ship?
28
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5answers
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Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

In spite of various fringe historians claiming to have found remains of Ice Age civilizations on lost continents, Atlantis and what not, there is - to the best of my knowledge - no tangible evidence ...
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3answers
340 views

What determines whether slavery is economically efficient in industrialized/modern era economies?

Various forms of slavery were nearly universal before the industrial revolution. After industrialization, it would naively seem forced labor would continue to be widespread, as there is no way to ...
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2answers
1k views

What did European people of the 5th century AD eat during spring and what was the availability?

It is commonly believed that winter during that age was a period of starvation, with very limited means of procuring food. If the above is true, what did the commoners (peasants, serfs, etc) have to ...
2
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1answer
110 views

What percentage of the German population worked on gathering the harvest in 1917?

It is a well-known fact that Germany suffered from food shortage during World War I, and that there were several causes of this, including in no particular order: The blockade restricting food ...
8
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1answer
374 views

How are historical nutrition data gathered?

In the book 'Sapiens', Yuval N. Harari mentions that after the Agricultural Revolution child mortality soared because of malnutrition. While I can see how eating only carbohydrate-based products leads ...
2
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1answer
177 views

How was agricultural labour organised in Victorian England?

I'm asking, more specifically, three things: What might the leadership of a typical farm look like in terms of job titles and responsibilities? Within a given farm, how were workers divided into ...
30
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4answers
11k views

Which cultures did *not* produce alcohol?

I've been reading Harold McGee's fascinating On Food and Cooking, and the chapter on alcohol has some interesting historical notes. He describes the widely varied and creative methods used in various ...
2
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0answers
154 views

Are there representation of wheat in the Gobekli Tepe temple?

While reading "Homo Sapiens" by Harari, I have been fascinated by the link made between wheat emergence and this prehistoric stone temple. A colleague told me about pseudo history in this book, so I ...
6
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4answers
442 views

How were cattle cut out in the 19th century?

In the largest cattle raising countries - Australia and the USA, huge free ranging herds were kept. Nowadays, we use yards and crushes for husbandry activities such as drafting and calf marking (...
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0answers
79 views

Were there farms in the early 19th century in England, which only focused on agriculture?

I think back in the day most farms consisted of both agriculture and livestock, but I think, there must have been exceptions. I'm also especially interested in small-scale family-based farms. The ...
16
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2answers
1k views

What crops were part of the medieval spring harvest?

I am listening to a lecture series and the professor mentioned a "spring harvest" starting in mid to late March. I think this is a mistake - the winter crops were not harvested until the Summer - but ...
9
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3answers
1k views

How did early farmer societies "know" about protein contents of peas and lentils?

According to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel (pp 125-126), the domestication of local grains (e.g. wheat, barley) and pulses (e.g. peas, lentils) lauched food production (farming) societies in ...
15
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3answers
2k views

What is the significance of 4200 BCE in context of farming replacing foraging in Europe?

This is a question relating to how and, in particular, why foragers were colonized by farmers (settled societies) of Hilly Flanks (uplands of Fertile Crescent of Southwest Asia). According to Ian ...
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1answer
285 views

What were the characteristics of the earliest varieties of European cattle, "bos tauros", and how were they kept?

I know that all modern cattle, whether they are bos tauros or not, are descended from aurochs, and that aurochs were allowed to mix with early domesticated cattle several times. I want to know more ...
15
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1answer
8k views

How could it be that 80% of townspeople were farmers during the Edo period in Japan?

I've read in the book "A modern history of Japan" by Andrew Gordon and other articles, that most of the Japanese townspeople were farmers(about 80% I suppose) during the Edo period. But according to ...
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4answers
6k views

How did corn become the most produced crop in the world?

This article has corn listed as the most important crop produced in the world. For some reason I feel like rice, or wheat is the more logical choice. So what were the conditions, and events, that led ...
29
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4answers
7k views

Why was sugar cultivation more profitable in the Caribbean/Brazil than West Africa?

The Atlantic slave trade involved the large-scale deportation of West African slaves to sugar plantations on the other side of the Atlantic. Why was it more profitable to do that, rather than to ...
4
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2answers
572 views

Why was agriculture more conducive to slavery in U.S. South than the North?

The most common explanation I hear for why there was more slavery in the South than the North in is that farming was more profitable in the South due to climate, soil quality etc. and the North had ...
4
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1answer
187 views

How young of a child could do significant labor?

I've been trying to find out whether, in some cultures historically, a child of age 3 or 4 could do enough work to "pay for their keep", so to speak. In the search I've found out that modern child ...
3
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3answers
695 views

What is Street’s Jorrocks?

In the book “All Hell Let Loose” by Max Hastings, the writer mentions about the condition of British farmers during WWII: "Wiltshire farmer Arthur Street ploughed up his grassland as the government ...
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0answers
368 views

What was the average day like for a 15th century English peasant or agricultural Labourer?

Because I live in a major urban American city of nearly 500,000 (Colorado Springs), I am finding it difficult to wrap my head around the idea of medieval subsistence agriculture. I am particularly ...
4
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1answer
736 views

How much leisure time was enjoyed by English peasants in the 16th century?

It seems like technological advances like seed drills, the cotton gin, reapers (grain harvesters), John Deere tractors, nitrogen fixation, steam engines, the internal combustion engine, cars, aircraft,...
9
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2answers
738 views

How did agricultural productivity change in Italy with the fall of the Roman Empire and through the early Middle Ages?

I have heard that overall agricultural productivity decreased with the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. In part at least it must be in relation to a general decrease of population - less people ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Which fruits and vegetables did Chinese migrants introduce to Australia during the gold rush?

The gold rush in Australia saw many Chinese migrate to the country, with the Chinese population in Australia reaching around 40000 in the 1860s. Many brought with them vegetable seeds to grow near ...
8
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3answers
962 views

What caused women to lose their access to resources and become a part of men's possessions with the start of the agriculture era?

I'm reading the book SEX AT DAWN: the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality, the book suggests that in prehistoric times, when homo sapiens were just foraging on the earth, the relation between men ...
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2answers
263 views

why were animals domesticated? (for meat and fur) [closed]

So my understanding is that it was not until the industrial revolution until people could eat farm animals commonly, while hunter gatherer groups subsisted on meat as the main part of their diet, so I ...
54
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4answers
11k views

Was hay invented only in the Middle Ages in Europe?

I stumbled upon the following remark from Freeman Dyson: The most important invention of the last two thousand years was hay. In the classical world of Greece and Rome and in all earlier times, ...
20
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4answers
8k views

What was the size of surface of a cereal crop needed per man per year during the Dark Ages in Western Europe?

If I'm a peasant during the dark ages, what surface (in meters (<- I am in advance on my time)) I need to farm to get enough cereal (for bread and brew) ? how many cereals (in kg (<- again, I'm ...
9
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2answers
567 views

How and why buttermilk was added to English medieval butter?

My question engages in the history of butter. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but I will give it a try. I read an old Jewish text (Sharei Dura 78) dated to the 13th century that ...
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1answer
530 views

How the average female body used to be before the industrial revolution? [closed]

I have this curiosity for several reasons.History articles says that before the isdustrial revolution most people used to be quite poor and most of the population were peasants. In other words, most ...
3
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1answer
785 views

When was the potato introduced to Mexico?

There are wild potatoes in Mexico, but eating potatoes are generally cultivars imported from the Andes. They became popular elsewhere after Europeans with sailing ships took them around the world. ...
7
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1answer
429 views

Why did Denmark, unlike in other 'rich' nations, favour agriculture in the 1920s?

According an article on the Economic History Association website, An Economic History of Denmark, Structural development during the 1920s, surprisingly for a rich nation at this stage, was in ...
47
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2answers
8k views

Did cows in Medieval times have calves in spring or all year round?

I'm a Dairy Educator and want to learn about milking and cows in Medieval Times. I suspect that cows had calves only in spring, like most livestock. Am I correct? Would Medieval people drink the ...
5
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1answer
913 views

Did the US government ever burn corn?

I remember hearing and/or reading that the US government burned corn (or destroyed it) at some point. This was not because there was anything wrong with the corn, but rather because by buying it they ...
82
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2answers
17k views

How much smaller were medieval farm animals in England than today?

According the Medieval Life and Times website, Farm animals were small, for scientific breeding had not yet begun. A full-grown ox reached a size scarcely larger than a calf of to-day, and the ...
3
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1answer
192 views

What changed to make British Enclosures more profitable than tenanted subplots?

In school I learned about the British Agricultural Revolution - at the time this was explained as 'increased efficiencies due to crop rotation'. (This now seems a bit simplistic. We know that in ...
0
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1answer
178 views

Why were harvest times in Cyrenaica earlier than in Greece in antiquity?

In The Corrupting Sea (2000), the authors state that Cyrenaica's harvest time was "a month earlier than that of most of Greece and well before that of the Black Sea" (p. 72), and because of this the ...
15
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7answers
9k views

Did the Roman Empire extend as far north as the Romans could grow wine?

I've heard (in an interview with German biologist Josef Reichholf) the argument that the Romans extended their empire as far north as they could grow their wine. A first glimpse at the map suggests ...
5
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3answers
3k views

Did Peter the Great introduce the potato to Russia?

The essay "Tuber or not Tuber" claims with no citation: Introduction of the tuber to Russia is usually credited to Peter the Great, who became familiar with potatoes while learning the shipbuilding ...
8
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2answers
959 views

Did the food economy of the late Roman republic rely on foreign imports, or was it more localized?

I'm curious to what degree Rome of the late republic was fed by imports as opposed to local goods. (Rome in this case meaning the city and the Italian peninsula, as opposed to her client states and ...