Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas
Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - Social Science - 256 pages
Few Americans identify slavery with the cultivation of rice, yet rice was a major plantation crop during the first three centuries of settlement in the Americas. Rice accompanied African slaves across the Middle Passage throughout the New World to Brazil, the Caribbean, and the southern United States. By the middle of the eighteenth century, rice plantations in South Carolina and the black slaves who worked them had created one of the most profitable economies in the world. Black Rice tells the story of the true provenance of rice in the Americas. It establishes, through agricultural and historical evidence, the vital significance of rice in West African society for a millennium before Europeans arrived and the slave trade began. The standard belief that Europeans introduced rice to West Africa and then brought the knowledge of its cultivation to the Americas is a fundamental fallacy, one which succeeds in effacing the origins of the crop and the role of Africans and African-American slaves in transferring the seed, the cultivation skills, and the cultural practices necessary for establishing it in the New World. In this vivid interpretation of rice and slaves in the Atlantic world, Judith Carney reveals how racism has shaped our historical memory and neglected this critical African contribution to the making of the Americas.
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African rice region agricultural Allston Americas areas Asian Atlantic slave trade Black Majority Cambridge Cape Verde Carolina and Georgia Carolina Press cereal coastal colonial period Columbian Exchange Conakry crop’s cultivation of rice culture diffusion domestication early eighteenth century established European female ﬁgured ﬁrst ﬂooding ﬂow Gambia River gender glaberrima grain growing rice inﬂuence inland swamps involved irrigated rice knowledge system land Landlords and Strangers landscape gradient Littleﬁeld maize Mande Mandinka mangrove mangrove rice maroons Middle Passage mortar and pestle Niger River Oryza Peter Wood planted planters Portères Portuguese pounds provision gardens rain-fed rainfall Rice and Slaves rice cultivation rice economy rice ﬁelds rice history rice system Richards riziculture role Saramaka sativa season seed Senegal Senegambia Sierra Leone signiﬁcance slave ships slavery soil speciﬁc task tidal rice tion University Press upland Upper Guinea Upper Guinea Coast varieties West Africa West African rice wetlands women
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