Questions tagged [agriculture]

For questions related to history of farming and breeding animals.

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2
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1answer
276 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 ...
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1answer
184 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 ...
14
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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 ...
14
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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 ...
4
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2answers
318 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
152 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
676 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 ...
12
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3answers
3k 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 ...
4
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0answers
298 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 ...
8
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2answers
513 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 ...
3
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1answer
440 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,...
-4
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2answers
227 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 ...
11
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2answers
495 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) had to ...
9
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2answers
375 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 ...
-2
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1answer
338 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
251 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. ...
5
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1answer
231 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 ...
45
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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 ...
78
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2answers
14k 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 ...
2
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1answer
153 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
159 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 ...
29
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4answers
6k 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 ...
15
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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 ...
3
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1answer
235 views

Differences among foraging, cultivation, domestication

I am currently researching the transition from hunter-gathering bands to agricultural communities. I am coming across the word cultivation a lot. It's getting confusing, because sometimes the word ...
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1answer
188 views

Did Palaeolithic humans live longer than early Neolithic farmers?

Please quote published research. There is work on Paleolithic teeth that is often used as evidence to suggest that Paleolithic humans lived longer than early farmers (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/...
2
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2answers
780 views

Kurds and their relation to the start of civilization?

Is there a relationship between these folks and the start of civilization? Mehrdad Izady suggests that they started civilization via establishing the agricultural production. How can this be possible, ...
8
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2answers
660 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 ...
5
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3answers
2k 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 ...
3
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3answers
890 views

How did horses become animals of fancy while donkeys largely didn't?

Horses seem to be a much more common sight in so-called "developed" (or rather "heavily mechanized") countries than donkeys are while the latter seem to be still quite popular in many "developing" ...
1
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1answer
62 views

In Alta California, who worked at the Ranchos del Rey?

In Spanish Alta California, most agricultural production was under the management and on the lands of the Franciscan Missions, operated with native labor. Each of the four presidios (forts) was also ...
21
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5answers
5k views

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 ...
16
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1answer
951 views

If salt was scarce and expensive, how did people “salt the earth” to ensure their enemies would stay defeated?

A common theme through much of history seems to be ensuring that the recently defeated enemy cannot recover from the loss. A way to ensure that is restricting the ability to grow food -- i.e. "salting ...
5
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2answers
316 views

What was typical agricultural produce in Rome or Greece roundabout 2000-3000ya?

During worldbuilding for a roleplaying campaign, I realized that I have a reasonable idea of what people have been growing (and eating) in northern Europe (rye, cabbage, turnips, beets and other roots,...
4
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3answers
566 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?
10
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1answer
458 views

Was there a president that wanted to “Make America Farm Again”?

There seems to be a lot of push back as the US employment markets move toward knowledge work and away from more traditional industrial roles. I'm sure there was a similar time in history when moving ...
49
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4answers
9k 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, ...
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2answers
182 views

Could you please simplify “Carrying capacity” meaning in the following paragraph?

Carrying capacity of the land increased - during spread of agricultural revolution in North America.
5
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1answer
738 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 ...
5
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3answers
719 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 ...
4
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0answers
141 views

What was the purpose of a tally stick?

I was recently reading a translation of "The debate between Sheep and Grain" Babylonian creation myth. It mentioned the following in lines 130-142: Every night your count is made and your tally-...
7
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2answers
154 views

Estimating gross domestic product in ancient times

I would like to estimate, to what extent the Roman republic (or different parts of it) were "agricultural". Today, a common measure to the "agricultural-ness" of an economy is the gross domestic ...
0
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1answer
509 views

Why did wheat become the dominant food culture? [closed]

Growing wheat, rice and other cereals is very labor-intensive. Wheat has very small edible mass compared to the other tissues. Wheat is very weather-dependent. Why were other cultures not used ...
2
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0answers
66 views

Historical African Demographic and Agriculture Data

I'm looking for resources that give the the demographic breakdown of African nations for the time period 1880-1960 (so colonization), such as from censuses. Primarily, I need the european share of the ...
6
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2answers
271 views

Cattle handling 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 (...
3
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1answer
1k views

When did the Chinese begin using night soil as fertilizer?

Farmers in China, Japan and Korea use human waste as fertilizer. But farmers in other parts of Asia where the main crop is paddy rice, like Thailand and Malaysia, do not. Some sources (like King ...
3
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1answer
599 views

What was the available level of agricultural technology in late 2nd century China?

How would you characterize the situation of the agricultural technology around the time of the Yellow Turban rebellion (A.D. 184-205), when technological breakthroughs were yet about to come?
15
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1answer
2k 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 ...
14
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1answer
507 views

What was the Nove / Millar debate, how is it important to the historiography of the Soviet Union?

The Nove / Millar debate was a debate amongst economic historians in the 1970s, where the Western understanding of Soviet economic development in the 1920 and 1930s was seriously revised. In ...
5
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1answer
456 views

How similar were Finnish and Lenape slash-and-burn agriculture?

Slash-and-burn agriculture is a technique where farmers cut down woodland and burn the debris to form farmland. This farmland is usually used for a few years until it loses its fertility, then the ...
9
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3answers
932 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 ...