94

I think both sources copied Early European History by Hutton Webster, published about a century ago. The underlying claim is true: Medieval animals were much smaller than today's. However, it is obvious that "a calf" is not a meaningful unit of comparison. The historical weight of livestock is mainly determined from archaeological studies as well as records ...


91

The Roman writer on agriculture Columella, who died around AD 70, gives a detailed description of the manufacture of hay (Latin: faenum) in his de re rustica 2.18, which reads as follows in the Loeb translation: "It is best, moreover, that hay be cut before it begins to wither, as a greater quantity of it is harvested and it affords a more agreeable ...


79

The total land area of Japan is around 146,000 square miles. 20% of that works out around 29,000 square miles or 18.6 million acres. The population of Tokugawa japan was around 30 million people. 80% of that is 24 million people. This gives each farmer roughly 3/4s of an acre. The basic unit of land in Japan was the cho, which was roughly 2.5 acres. ...


54

All highlighting is mine Concerning calving in the middle ages, Cows...would calve in the early spring. Calves would nurse for about a month and then be separated from their mothers and fed by hand until they learned to graze on their own. Ideally, the calves would be weaned just as the pastures began showing some good growth, but in a cold ...


32

In short, Brazil and Caribbean Isles were easy to colonize and suited to the culture of the sugar cane. This related question will provide most of the explanation why Africa was harder to colonize, and less welcoming to Europeans. Moreover, it is far easier to control slaves outside of Africa. They can't hide in the local population. Also, sugar became ...


25

There is some research on the medieval cattle topic here which lists many cattle sizes throughout the history of cattle usage. This shows the following figures for medieval times (numbers are the height to the top of the shoulder): Saxo-Norman and High Medieval (11th-13th C) [110 cm (43.3") or 100-130 cm (39.4-51.2")] Later Medieval (14th-15th C) [...


23

These did not have indigenous alcoholic beverages, aiming to be as exhaustive as possible: Inuit (called "Eskimos" in Hornsey "Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society", p. 1) peoples of Tierra del Fuego (South America) (ibid) Australia (ibid) most of the natives of the North America (ibid) including Navajo (Hornsey, p. 554) including Hopi ("...


21

I think Freeman Dyson may have a point, but his facts seem to lack foundation. One only needs hay for horses that lack sufficient winter pasture for forage. Cattle were domesticated by 6,000 BC, and horses by 4,000 BC. Horses are able to forage during winter by using their hoofs to paw through ice and snow, and to break ice to get water. Unless the ...


20

Many Native Americans had died of Old World disease, Africans did not When the Europeans showed up in the New World, they brought disease that killed a large portion of the local people (60%? 80%? 90%? ). This meant, from the European standpoint, that in the 1500's and 1600's, New World land was available for the taking. West Africa, on the other hand, had ...


18

The big difference is geographic diversity. Wheat doesn't do very well in the tropics. Rice requires tropical and semi-tropical areas where lots and lots of water are available. However, corn can be grown nearly anywhere. Corn kind of had a tough row to hoe (pardon the pun) in the Americas. It was first domesticated from the grass Teosinte in tropical areas ...


18

Most likely because they never had it to start with. There are two big problems with this portion of the book's thesis: I see no evidence whatsoever put forth in the above text supporting the assertion that human women were socially equal or superior prior to the agricultural revolution. Such evidence should not be hard to come by, simply by talking with ...


18

That seems highly unlikely. The invention of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent was roughly 10,000 years ago, principally in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley system. The people living there when the historical record opened spoke a language unrelated to any modern language. Kurdish is an Indo-European language, of the Western Iranian branch. About 5,500 ...


17

In Carolingian times, the yield of grain on average soil was 2:1. For each seed planted, you harvested two. Starting with the eleventh century, an upward trend brought agricultural productivity to an average of 4:1. This meant 8-12 bushels (200-300 kg) of grain per acre. Let's just conclude that in Carolingian times, in Western Europe, an acre of land gave 4-...


17

One example would be the Amondawa who are a group of indigenous peoples of Brazil. The Amondawa are a sedentary group that utilize various forms of hunting fishing and agriculture to provide for their community, yet according to researchers the Amondawa lack an "abstract concept of time." The University of Portsmouth and the Federal University of Rondonia ...


17

Actually RUNNING a farm has never been considered "prestigious." But OWNING one often has been. "Farming" is connected with manual labor, sweat, etc. As such, it is not what social economists like Thorstein Veblen would consider "honorific." On the other hand, to be an owner is to be member of the landed gentry, and a member of the establishment. Farming ...


16

Farming societies typically support 60 to 100 times the population of hunter-gatherer societies. Given that kind of population difference, what that one person wants/needs vs. the 100 simply doesn't matter. They become unimportant on the ground, and are simply genetically and socially washed away in the tide. The hunter's options are to retreat to unfarmed ...


15

What made you think they know about the protein content? Evolutionary pressures would have drove humans to develop instincts for foods that contain the nutrition we need to survive (i.e., cravings). There is also a common human preference for diversity. Those factors alone would have pushed early civilisation into cultivating multiple crops. Additionally, ...


15

(Most of what I'm writing is a summary of "After the Ice: A global human history 20,000-5,000 BC" by Steven Mithen - published 2003 so it's pretty up to date as an overview of what is known). It is indeed tied to the end of the last ice age. All the sites known from the ice age and immediately afterwards are temporary hunter gatherer camps. In the middle ...


15

The time period from roughly 7500 BP (years Before Present) to 4000 BP (5500 BCE to 2000 BCE), known as the Holocene Maximum (or Optimum) saw global temperatures: rapidly increase from slightly (~0.5°C) below current the present value to between 1 and 2°C higher; stay at those values for nearly 2000 years; and then return to values ~0.5°C below current. (...


14

From Pakistan to Japan is indeed a big region and "before rice" a long and varied time frame. But this question seems to imply that it is concerned with the early neolithic centers of agriculture in Asia and what the first main staple foods in these were, excluding all rice. Short answer to that for the North-Eastern region in question, over the course of ...


13

I don't know about "make America farm again" since it happened so early in American history, however Thomas Jefferson was a fan of having a primarily agrarian economy, seeing urbanization as a threat to his ideal democracy. From this source: Jefferson's thinking, however, was not merely celebratory, for he saw two dangerous threats to his ideal ...


12

Before the Romans took over Egypt, Sicily and Africa were the primary sources of grain. ("Africa" in the Roman context means just the Northwest portion of the continent.) These areas continued to be a major source of grain until the provinces were lost to first the Vandals and later the Muslims after the fall of the Western Empire. Italy itself ceased to ...


11

It may be different in different locations but it usually comes down to what Tom mentioned as the manual labor, those who work with their hands or outside do tend to lose some level of prestige in many cultures. In Europe in the Middle Ages if you worked outside you were of the lower classes, giving rise to the idea that tanned skin was a mark of those who ...


11

The cultivation of sugar was more profitable on islands. The plantations in the "Caribbean" were on islands. Until the mid-16th century at least, production from "Brazil," largely came from Santa Catarina Island (or coastal strips on the mainland with the properties discussed below). On the other hand, "West Africa" had relatively few islands except for e.g. ...


10

I was very skeptical, since you didn't cite any reason to doubt the claim, but a paper by Dr. Lynn Ceci supports your skepticism: The belief that the use of fish fertilizers originated among North American Indians, and was communicated as such by Squanto to the Plymouth settlers, has achieved the status of folklore and is therefore difficult to challenge....


9

Riding a horse is a hell of a lot more fun than riding a donkey. So from a pure pleasure aspect, moderns are far more likely to want to maintain a horse for amusement than a donkey. The ceremonial aspects are almost entirely down to the horse being a central animal of warfare for millennia. This produced an air of romance around the horse that does not ...


9

It is certainly true that many of the foundations for later civilisations, like the development of agriculture, the development of writing, and even an invention of the wheel, can be traced to The Fertile Crescent. It is likely that many of the ancestors of modern Kurds came from the the Fertile Crescent. It is quite possible that "The land of Karda", ...


9

In addition to preserving, there were various techniques to start the growing season very early. Some vegetables can be planted very early and harvested within a month or two. Radishes are particularly fast growing. Also beets, onions, rutabaga, carrots, turnips, peas, rhubarb, spinach, asparagus, and leeks. They can be planted earlier if covered with ...


9

For our purposes, there are two types of agriculture: Subsistence (food) agriculture and cash crop agriculture. The farming in the North focused on foodstuffs (corn, wheat, vegetables, etc.). The farming in the South focused on higher value cash crops, cotton, indigo, sugar, etc. Under a subsistence economy focused on food, you don't want slaves, because ...


8

According to Cacao domestication I: the origin of the cacao cultivated by the Mayas, genetic evidence indicates that the cacao tree was cultivated from wild ancestors and improved over time. Mayans were pretty good at agriculture, beyond the slash and burn methods that were used by many other tribes in the Americas during the same time period. From Maya ...


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