Throughout history there have been many important crops that have been detrimental to societies, but in recent history the Cassava plant has been one of the most important to people in Asia, South America, and Africa. To people in America, Cassava may be unknown, but its importance needs to be recognized. The characteristics of Cassava to grow in non-fertile places, have good nutrional value and also supply some of a countries economy make it unvalued around the world. Cassava also known as Yuca, Tapioca, or Manioc is beginning to be used in greater force around the world because of its convenient characteristics.
Cassava or Manicot Esculenta originated in Brazil and Paraguay with west, central Brazil having wild populations of the Cassava subspecies flabellifolia, shown to be the progenitor of domesticated cassava. It was then first likely domesticated no more than 10,000 years BP. The oldest direct evidence of cassava cultivation comes from an old Maya site, in El Salvador. Cassava became a staple food of the native populations of northern South America, southern Mesoamerica, and the Caribbean by the time of the Spanish conquest. Its cultivation was continued by the colonial Portuguese and Spanish. Cassava was a staple food for pre-Columbian peoples in the Americas. This is remarkable, because cassava roots are bitter and deadly poisonous if eaten raw. Also, Cassava was portrayed in indigenous art, which showed how important Cassava was in the culture of these early civilizations. With the change in times came a change in Cassava.
Today’s Cassava is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root. It also serves as a major source of carbohydrates. The people that use and grow cassava in today’s society first boil and shed the root of its skin, whereas the pre-Colombian era just boiled and used cassava with the outer layer still intact. This is remarkable because the...
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