Plants that have changed history
These plants know each, but not everyone fully understands the role they played for humanity. There would be no them may not have.
Wheat: the origin of the European civilization
It was this grain that made our ancestors move to a settling lifestyle. Before that, they were gathered hunters who had to survive: natural gifts are limited, but I want to eat. Cereal cultures (not only wheat, but also cultured later oats and millet) allowed people to solve the problem of hunger. But the process was gradual.
Scientists believe that wheat occurred from several wild cereals growing in Asia Minor, Southern Europe and North Africa. One of the first domesticated of them was a wildfast, common in the territory of a fertile crescent. Somewhere there and discovered for themselves the pranodi. She was nutritious, but had a lack (like all wild grain varieties) – the grains immediately crumbled on the ground after ripening, so I had to collect a bad crop. In order for the shelf to be more, about 10 200 years ago, someone guess her sow, and then, gradually, and under the influence of random factors, the spikelets are increasingly resistant to. So about 6,500 years ago and wheat appeared.
Simultaneously with wheat in the Middle East cultivated barley. It is even believed that he began to cultivate before, but bread from it was inferior to wheat and in flavoring, and by nutritional properties. But the barley became one of the basic cultures in Russia, most of which wheat simply did not promise wheat. Accurate barley ancestor is still unknown.
Rice: Narget Asian Civilization
Like many other cereals, rice was domesticated in different parts of the planet. However, the classic Asian rice is much older, for example, an African species. He began to be reaved in East Asia about 9000 years ago, won the right to be called the main culture of the region. Today, most of humanity feeds on them to them (and about every seventh resident of the planet participates in its cultivation, that is, rice gives work more than billion people).
Rice’s ancestor is considered the wild form of Oryza Sativa or the Oryza Nivara close to it, and possibly both of these species. And the other to this day is growing along the shores of water bodies in China, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Malaysia. Ancestors of Asians simply took what was granted by nature, although it was difficult to do it: wild rice seeds, like wheat, tend to crumble after ripening. But the cultivation of the plant brought its fruits.
Resulting Asians, by the way, have been allowed not only seeds, but also a straw, made of rice paper and cardboard. And the rice here has long been considered a measure of wealth – it was from Asia to us a tradition to shower newlyweds by this cerebral so that the house was a complete bowl. In Japan, the word "rice" and the verb "there" are indicated by the same hieroglyphs. Here you will find a recipe for a delicious pila.
Corn: Narquato American Civilization
Third Epochal Culture in the history of mankind – corn. It is the basis of the basics of not only the whole Indian civilization, but also its religion. Maya Indians believed that God created a man from the grains of white and yellow maize. Yes, and all the other representatives of the original American culture were considered to be corn with a sacred plant: young women put on the branches from her stems on the head, and on the neck – necklaces made of fried grains (those most that we call the popcorn today – yes, I invented it that Indians) and then spinned in ritual dancing. In the form of burst corn grain, you walked about the future, as we – on the coffee grounds.
Corn was domesticated about 9000 years ago. It is believed that this happened in the center of the Balzas Valley in Mexico (at least the oldest maize grains are found here). And corn comes from the local wild plant the theosynt, externally similar to his cultural descendant, but with much smaller cobs. In length, they constitute only 3-4 cm. Yes, and the patch itself is more spiket. The ancient sons of Tenochtitlan had not only to engage in the increase in the latter, but also to "soften" their shell – the wild view is solid.
Spices: Geographical discoveries, wars, colonization and technical progress
Carnation, cinnamon, saffron, pepper, bay leaf, ginger – The most fragrant spices have grown in the tropics and for Europeans were exotic to the consumer unhurried caravans. Their price was cosmic, and if today we have a rich man call a bag with money, in the Middle Ages about this could say "Pepper Bag".
Of course, Europeans sought their ways to achieve India and other southern countries. But the cunning eastern delintors in the colors described the path and sea monsters, which will meet them on the route (which is why there are so many illustrations of giant spruits and chimer on the vintage maps). But the desire to get rich was more fear, thanks to which both America, the Philippines, the Large Molukkskiy and Zonda Islands were opened, was laid in the Indian Ocean around Africa, and Magellan made his round-the-world journey. By the end of his expedition, which initially consisting of five vessels, there was only one small ship, but even those spices, which remained on it, the team members were enough to pay huge debts for the loss of ships and even profit).
For the right to grow and deliver spices, war was carried out, new territories were captured – all European colonies were created primarily in order to master the "spicy" monopoly.
Soy: Global Change Consumer Basket
By the beginning of the 20th century, the problem of hunger even in developed countries began to increase. That, of course, not primitive times, but the growth of the population and the life expectancy required additional resources in the form of a cheap protein. Such and became soy. They knew about her before – according to some reports, the first mentions of Bobah appeared in China and dating 5000 years ago. Residents of the Middle Kingdom managed to emphasize the plant and increase yields, and today Soy is considered the most important component of the global product market.
Soy protein is not inferior in nutrition with milk and eggs: the seeds of this plant contain 37-42% protein, 19-22% oil and up to 30% of carbohydrates. At the same time, the price of the production of soybeans is lower than meat and dairy products, and she herself is their safe substitute. If not soy, our product basket would cost more, and many people in the XX and XXI century would simply die of hunger or at least test the total protein deficiency. In addition, soybean is one of the main feed crops for pets.
Hinny tree and wormwood: Salvation of hundreds of thousands of lives
Another 200-300 years ago, Malaria was considered one of the most common and dangerous diseases on Earth. Especially she raged in countries with a warm wet climate. With the opening of a new light, where a rigged tree grown, the situation has improved sharply. True, not immediately – to open the miraculous properties of the plant and learn how to treat them with malaria, it took time. And although the Indians knew the medicine from this ailment, to disclose the secret of his preparation to the conquerors were in no hurry. And when European Eskulapses still recreated his recipe, the global malaria epidemic went to the decline.
And in the 1970s, Chinese scientists under the leadership of Pharmacolat that Yui was allocated from the brave of a shelf of the substance called with Qinghaos (in Western Pharmacology it was called "Artemizin"), which to this day is considered to be the most effective drug against malaria.
In general, plants playing a key role in our history, a lot: millet, oats, papyrus, cotton, flax, sugar cane, tea, potatoes and others, but this is another story.