History of the world rice cultivation

History of the world rice cultivation

Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Asia and the West Indies. It is the grain with the third-highest worldwide production, after maize (corn) and wheat, according to data for 2009.
Rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human species.
Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. Rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain. Although its parent species are native to Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures worldwide.

1-Origin of the rice cultivation

There have been plenty of debates on the origins of the domesticated rice. However, in 2011, a combined effort by Stanford University, New York University,  Washington University, and Purdue University has provided conclusive evidence that domesticated rice has a single origin in the Yangtze Valley of  China..
The precise date of the first domestication is unknown, but depending on the molecular clock estimate used by the scientists, the date is estimated to be 8,200 to 13,500 years ago.
The large number of wild rice phytoliths at the Diaotonghuan level dating from 12,000–11,000 BP indicates that wild rice collection was part of the local means of subsistence. Changes in the morphology of Diaotonghuan phytoliths dating from 10,000–8,000 BP show that rice had by this time been domesticated.
Soon afterwards the two major varieties of Indica and Japonica/Sinica rice were being grown in Central China. In the late 3rd millennium BC, there was a rapid expansion of rice cultivation into mainland Southeast Asia and westwards across India and Nepal.
In 2011, a combined effort by the Stanford University, New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Purdue University has provided the strongest evidence yet that there is only one single origin of domesticated rice, in the Yangtze Valley of China.

2-The rice cultivation in Continental East Asia

Rice appears to have been used by the early Neolithic populations of Lijiacun and Yunchanyan. Evidence of possible rice cultivation in China from c. 11,500 BP has been found, however it is still questioned whether the rice was indeed being cultivated, or instead being gathered as wild rice.
Bruce Smith, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., says that evidence has been mounting that the Yangtze was probably the site of the earliest rice cultivation.
Zhao (1998) argues that collection of wild rice in the Late Pleistocene had, by 6400 BC, led to the use of primarily domesticated rice.
Morphological studies of rice phytoliths from the Diaotonghuan archaeological site clearly show the transition from the collection of wild rice to the cultivation of domesticated rice. The large number of wild rice phytoliths at the Diaotonghuan level dating from 12,000–11,000 BP indicates that wild rice collection was part of the local means of subsistence.
Changes in the morphology of Diaotonghuan phytoliths dating from 10,000–8,000 BP show that rice had by this time been domesticated. Analysis of Chinese rice residues from Pengtoushan, which were carbon 14 dated to 8200–7800 BCE, show that rice had been domesticated by this time.
Crawford and Shen (1998) reported the earliest of 14 AMS or radiocarbon dates on rice from at least nine Early to Middle Neolithic sites is no older than 7000 BC, that rice from the Hemudu and Luojiajiao sites indicates that rice domestication likely began before 5000 BC, but that most sites in China from which rice remains have been recovered are younger than 5000 BC.

3-The rice cultivation in Indian subcontinent 

The earliest remains of rice in the Indian subcontinent have been found in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and date from 7000–6000 BC though the earliest widely accepted date for cultivated rice is placed at around 3000–2500 BC with findings in regions belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization.
Denis J. Murphy (2007) further details the spread of cultivated rice from India into Southeast Asia: Several wild cereals, including rice, grew in the Vindhyan Hills, and rice cultivation, at sites such as Chopani-Mando and Mahagara, may have been underway as early as 7000 BP.
Many cultures have evidence of early rice cultivation, including China, India, and the civilizations of Southeast Asia. However, the earliest archaeological evidence comes from central and eastern China and dates to 7000–5000 BC.
Wild Oryza rice appeared in the Belan and Ganges valley regions of northern India as early as 4530 BC and 5440 BC, respectively, although many believe it may have appeared earlier.
Rice was cultivated in the Indus Valley Civilization. Agricultural activity during the second millennium BC included rice cultivation in the Kashmir and Harrappan regions. Mixed farming was the basis of Indus valley economy.
According to Zohary and Hopf (2000), O. sativa was recovered from a grave at Susa in Iran (dated to the 1st century AD) at one end of the ancient world, another domestication of rice in South Asia.
Perennial wild rices still grow in Assam and Nepal. It seems to have appeared around 1400 BC in southern India after its domestication in the northern plains.
According to Zohary and Hopf (2000), O. sativa was recovered from a grave at Susa in Iran (dated to the 1st century AD) at one end of the ancient world, while at the same time rice was grown in the Po valley in Italy.
Chopani-Mando and Mahagara are located on the upper reaches of the Ganges drainage system, and it is likely that migrants from this area spread rice farming down the Ganges valley into the fertile plains of Bengal, and beyond into south-east Asia.

4-Southeast Asia

Rice is the staple for all classes in contemporary Southeast Asia, from Myanmar  to Indonesia.
In Indonesia, evidence of wild Oryza rice on the island of Sulawesi dates from 3000 BCE.
In the Philippines, the greatest evidence of rice cultivation since ancient times can be found in the Cordillera Mountain Range of Luzon in the provinces of Apayao,  Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao. Those are 2,000 to 3,000-year-old terraces that were carved into the mountains by ancestors of the Batad indigenous people.
Evidence of wet rice cultivation as early as 2200 BC has been discovered at both Ban Chiang and Ban Prasat in Thailand.

5-The rice cultivation in Korea and Japan

The proof of dry-land rice cultivation was introduced to Korea and Japan some time between 3500 and 1200 BC. The cultivation of rice in Korea and Japan during that time occurred on a small-scale, fields were impermanent plots, and evidence shows that in some cases domesticated and wild grains were planted together. The technological, subsistence, and social impact of rice and grain cultivation is not evident in archaeological data until after 1500 BC.
In 2003, Korean archaeologists alleged they discovered burnt grains of domesticated rice in Soro-ri, Korea, which dated to 13,000 BC. These predate the oldest grains in China, which were dated to 10,000 BC, and potentially challenge the mainstream explanation that domesticated rice originated in China.The findings were received by academia with strong skepticism, and the results and their publicizing has been cited as being driven by a combination of nationalist and regional interests.

6-The rice cultivation in Africa

African rice has been cultivated for 3500 years. Between 1500 and 800 BC, Oryza glaberrima propagated from its original centre, the Niger River delta, and extended to Senegal. However, it never developed far from its original region.Its cultivation even declined in favour of the Asian species, possibly brought to the African continent by Arabs coming from the east coast between the 6th and 11th centuries CE. It helped Africa conquer its famine of 1203.

7-The rice cultivation in Middle East

In Iraq rice was grown in some areas of southern Iraq. With the rise of Islam it moved north to Nisibin, the southern shores of the Caspian Sea and then beyond the Muslim world into the valley of Volga. In Palestine, modern day Israel, rice came to be grown in the Jordan Valley. Rice is also grown in Yemen.

8-The rice cultivation in Europe

The Moors brought Asiatic rice to the Iberian Peninsula in the 10 th century. Records indicate it was grown in Valencia and Majorca. In Majorca, rice cultivation seems to have stopped after the Christian conquest, although historians are not certain.
Muslims also brought rice to Sicily, where it was an important crop long before it is noted in the plain of Pisa (1468) or in the Lombard plain (1475), where its cultivation was promoted by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and demonstrated in his model farms.
After the 15th century, rice spread throughout Italy and then France, later propagating to all the continents during the age of European exploration.

9-The rice cultivation in Caribbean and Latin America

Rice is not native to the Americas but was introduced to Latin America and the Caribbean by European colonizers at an early date with Spanish colonizers  introducing  Asian rice to Mexico in the 1520s at Veracruz and the Portuguese and their African slaves introducing it at about the same time to Colonial Brazil.
Recent scholarship suggests that enslaved Africans played an active role in the establishment of rice in the New World and that African rice was an important crop from an early period. Varieties of rice and bean dishes that were a staple dish along the peoples of West Africa remained a staple among their descendants subjected to slavery in the Spanish New World colonies, Brazil and elsewhere in the Americas.
The Native Americans of the what is now the Eastern United States may have practiced extensive agriculture with forms of wild rice.

10-The rice cultivation in United States

In 1694, rice arrived in South Carolina, probably originating from Madagascar.
In the United States, colonial South Carolina and Georgia grew and amassed great wealth from the Slavery labor obtained from the Senegambia area of West Africa and from coastal Sierra Leone. At the port of Charleston, through which 40% of all American slave imports passed, slaves from this region of Africa brought the highest prices, in recognition of their prior knowledge of rice culture, which was put to use on the many rice plantations around Georgetown, Charleston, and Savannah.
The invention of the rice mill increased profitability of the crop, and the addition of water power for the mills in 1787 by millwright Jonathan Lucas was another step forward.
Rice culture in the southeastern U.S. became less profitable with the loss of slave labor after the American Civil War, and it finally died out just after the turn of the 20th century.
In the southern United States, rice has been grown in southern ArkansasLouisiana, and east Texas since the mid-19th century. Rice cultivation began in California during the California Gold Rush, when an estimated 40,000 Chinese laborers immigrated to the state and grew small amounts of the grain for their own consumption.
References to wild rice in the Americas are to the unrelated Zizania palustris. More than 100 varieties of rice are commercially produced primarily in six states (Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and California) in the U.S.

11-The rice cultivation in Australia

Rice was one of the earliest crops planted in Australia by British settlers, who had experience with rice plantations in the Americas and the subcontinent.
Although attempts to grow rice in the well-watered north of Australia have been made for many years, they have consistently failed because of inherent iron and manganese toxicities in the soils and destruction by pests.
In the 1920s it was seen as a possible irrigation crop on soils within the Murray-Darling Basin that were too heavy for the cultivation of fruit and too infertile for wheat.
Californian varieties of rice were found suitable for the climate in the Riverina, and the first mill opened at Leeton in 1951.
Even before this Australia's rice production greatly exceeded local needs, and rice exports to Japan have become a major source of foreign currency.
Above-average rainfall from the 1950s to the middle 1990s encouraged the expansion of the Riverina rice industry, but its prodigious water use in a practically waterless region began to attract the attention of environmental scientists.
The Australian rice industry is somewhat opportunistic, with the area planted varying significantly from season to season depending on water allocations in the Murray and Murrumbidgee irrigation regions.
Today, the majority of all rice produced comes from China, India,  Indonesia,  Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and Japan. Asian farmers still account for 92% of the world's total rice production.
1-Oryza sativa- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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