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

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 ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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95 votes

Was hay invented only in the Middle Ages in Europe?

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 ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 9,690
84 votes

Why did it take so long for Europeans to adopt the moldboard plow?

It did not take the Europeans that long… We see a couple of misunderstandings/misreadings here. Question: What is a mould-board plough Wikipedia: Plough? Answer: From a purely functional perspective: ...
LLewellyn Cuthbertson's user avatar
66 votes
Accepted

Why are cereal grains so important to agriculture and civilization?

Let's look at the walnut, since it's been cultivated for a long time. If you start with the seed, it will take you 10 years (roughly) to have a tree mature enough to produce fruit, assuming you plant ...
Keith Morrison's user avatar
57 votes

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

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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
36 votes

Why are cereal grains so important to agriculture and civilization?

As Keith points out, versatility and yield are a major factor. So is storage. Grains can be stored for months longer than root vegetables and still be edible (potatoes and such go off much quicker, ...
jwenting's user avatar
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33 votes

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

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, ...
xrorox's user avatar
  • 1,193
25 votes

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

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 ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 40.3k
24 votes

Was hay invented only in the Middle Ages in Europe?

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 ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
  • 6,701
23 votes

Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

(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)....
PhillS's user avatar
  • 3,164
23 votes

Kurds and their relation to the start of civilization?

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 ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 120k
19 votes

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

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%?...
Astor Florida's user avatar
18 votes

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

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 ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 120k
17 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.6k
17 votes

Why are cereal grains so important to agriculture and civilization?

Two main considerations: Even without knowledge of evolution or plant breeding, it is natural for agricultural people to replant the best, most vigorous, tastiest, most productive seeds from last ...
Steven Gubkin's user avatar
16 votes

Why require every ploughman to make his own plough?

It looks like there was a church tax ("plough-alms") levied on farmers at the start of the season ("Plough Sunday"). This involved everyone bringing out their ploughshares to ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 120k
15 votes
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Was there a president that wanted to "Make America Farm Again"?

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 ...
Cody's user avatar
  • 333
15 votes

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

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°...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
15 votes
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Why was silage only invented in the 19th century?

Judging by History of Silage by Wilkinson et al (2003), the premise behind the question is somewhat inaccurate. Silage making is probably more than 3000 yr old. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

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

The start of the sentence, which you have excluded from your quotation reads 'All these techniques, though developed for the exploitation of wild cereals,' I think this is important context. The ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 266
13 votes

Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

Blame the weather. Larger version The reason it took so long for agriculture to develop can be summed up in this chart which shows variation in global temperature against time. The analysis in the ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 569
12 votes
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Kurds and their relation to the start of civilization?

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 ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

What crops were part of the medieval spring harvest?

Well, I found a fairly good description of the Medieval Farming Year, and it does not support a 'spring harvest' as you suspected. From the above source, Concerning winter crops specifically in ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 40.3k
11 votes

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

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 ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
11 votes

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

Salting, brining, smoking and fermenting were all common methods of Medieval food preservation used in autumn in preparation for the lean winter months. Note that in Northern Europe it would still be ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
10 votes

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

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 ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
9 votes
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Were shipboard gardens ever typical?

Since the question specifies the Age-of-Sail, we're concerned with the period between 1650 and 1850. The link between nutrition and health on long voyages was only really established in the last half ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
  • 19.7k

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