Pre-Columbian Gasoline.

It's ironic that while at least one hundred million Native Americans died from wave after wave of diseases imported by conquerors from the Old World, two of the food products that they developed feed more than half of the world's population today, more than three billion people. And that's only corn (maize) and potatoes.

What Englishman would consider a proper meal one that lacked potatoes? The pre-Columbian Native Americans filled our cupboards with many more products. Who could imagine Italian cuisine without tomatoes? What Belgian could make it through the day without his chocolate? How could an Asian cook without hot peppers?

There’s further irony in that after Europeans imported these new, superior foodstuffs, their populations exploded. These new people, who literally owed their lives to these new foodstuffs found themselves overflowing from their European birthplaces. So many of them emigrated and re-populated the new world which they found to be largely empty. It would over three hundred years for the New World to return to the population levels it had before 1492.

And now we have modern Americans converting thousands of acres of corn that could feed so many hungry people into ethanol to add to the gasoline they use to fill up their SUVs. As if that wasn't enough, the people who do most of the hard labour on the farms are migrants from Mexico and Central America who almost without exception are at least partly of Native American descent. Often they are exploited with sub-standard wages, working and living conditions because they enter the country illegally. The reason why most of these migrant workers subject themselves to this abuse is so they can send a little bit of money back to their families. Their families need the money to buy food, basic staples like corn (maize). A bizarre circle of events where the one who loses and has always lost is the Amerindian.

In our homogenised modern world trading system where Canadians can have strawberries in winter while Europeans drink coffee grown in South America, it's interesting to think of how limited the choices were for people on both sides of the Atlantic before the "Columbian Exchange" got underway.

The only disease that the Native Americans may have sent to the old world is Syphilis, although that has not been proven unequivocally.

Following is a short list of where some products originated, some may surprise you.

Old World New World
Cats Animal Armadillo Animal
Cattle Animal Bison Animal
Chickens Animal Bufflo Animal
Donkeys Animal Catfish Animal
Goats Animal Electric Eel Animal
Horses Animal Humming Birds Animal
Sheep Animal Iguana Animal
Mules Animal Llama Animal
Pigs Animal Manta Rays Animal
Malaria Disease Moose Animal
Cholera Disease Piranhas Animal
Measles Disease Prehensile Tails Animal
Smallpox Disease Rattlesnake Animal
Typhoid Disease Tree Sloth Animal
Akee Food Vampire Bat Animal
Banana Food Vicuña Animal
Barley Food Guinea Pig Animal
Breadfruit Food Turkey Animal
Cauliflower Food Manatee Animal
Figs Food Muskrat Animal
Grapes Food Guaiacum Medicine
Indigo Food Syphilis Disease
Lemons Food Avocado Food
Lettuce Food Beans (Frijoles) Food
Mango Food Cassava Food
Mellon Food Chile Food
Olive Food Cocoa Food
Oranges Food Maize Food
Pomegranite Food Papaya Food
Rice Food Paprika Food
Sugar Cane Food Peanuts Food
Wheat Food Potato Food
Rye Food Pumpkins Food
Candles Product Sassafras Food
Squash Food
Sweet Potato Food
Tomato Food
Cotton Product
Quinoa Product
Rubber Product
Tobacco Product









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Gasolina Pre-Colombina.

Es irónico que mientras al menos cien millones de Amerindios murieron de ola tras ola de enfermedades importados por los conquistadores del Mundo Viejo, dos de los productos alimenticios que ellos desarrollaron dan sustento básico a más de la mitad de la población humana de hoy. Más de tres billones de personas. Y solo estamos hablando de maíz y la papa (patata).

¿Cual inglés consideraría una cena completa que le faltaba papas? Y los Amerindios llenaron nuestros almacenes con muchos productos más. ¿Quién puede imaginarse un italiano cocinando sin tomates? ¿O una Bélgica pasando un día sin su chocolate? ¿Cómo cocinaría un asiático sin su chile picante?

Continúa a la ironía en que después de que los Europeos importaron estos comestibles superiores, sus poblaciones crecieron enormemente. Estos nuevos Europeos, quienes literalmente debieron sus vidas a estos comestibles importados, se encontraron desbordando sus lugares de nacimiento. Entonces muchos de ellos emigraron al mundo nuevo y lo encontraron bastante vacio. Duraría más de trescientos de años hasta que el Mundo Nuevo recuperaría la población que tenía en 1492.

Y ahora tenemos a los americanos modernos convirtiendo miles de hectáreas de maíz en etanol para añadir al tanque de gasolina de sus enormes automóviles.

Y si eso fuera poco, la gente que hace la mayoría del trabajo fuerte en las fincas son inmigrantes de México y América Central. Esa gente, casi sin excepción son, al menos en parte, descendientes de los Amerindios pre-Colombinos. Muchos son explotados con salarios bajos, y condiciones de trabajo y vivienda deplorables porque no tienen permiso de trabajo. La razón porque ellos toleran estos abusos es que necesitan enviar un poco de dinero a sus familias. Ellos necesitan el dinero para comprar artículos de canasta básica como maíz para hacer sus tortillas. Un círculo vicioso en la que pierde y siempre ha perdido el Amerindio.

En nuestro mundo moderno homogenizado, donde canadienses pueden comer frambuesas todo el año, y europeos toman café de América del Sur, es interesante de ver las Escasas escogencias que tenía la gente a los dos lados del Océano Atlántico antes del "Intercambio Colombino".

La única enfermedad que los Americanos devolvieron al Viejo Mundo era el sífilis, y eso no está completamente comprobado.

Lo que sigue es una lista de donde originaron algunos productos, algunos sorprenden.

Viejo Mundo Nuevo Mundo
Cats Animal Armadillo Animal
Cattle Animal Bison Animal
Chickens Animal Bufflo Animal
Donkeys Animal Catfish Animal
Goats Animal Electric Eel Animal
Horses Animal Humming Birds Animal
Sheep Animal Iguana Animal
Mules Animal Llama Animal
Pigs Animal Manta Rays Animal
Malaria Disease Moose Animal
Cholera Disease Piranhas Animal
Measles Disease Prehensile Tails Animal
Smallpox Disease Rattlesnake Animal
Typhoid Disease Tree Sloth Animal
Akee Food Vampire Bat Animal
Banana Food Vicuña Animal
Barley Food Guinea Pig Animal
Breadfruit Food Turkey Animal
Cauliflower Food Manatee Animal
Figs Food Muskrat Animal
Grapes Food Guaiacum Medicine
Indigo Food Syphilis Disease
Lemons Food Avocado Food
Lettuce Food Beans (Frijoles) Food
Mango Food Cassava Food
Mellon Food Chile Food
Olive Food Cocoa Food
Oranges Food Maize Food
Pomegranite Food Papaya Food
Rice Food Paprika Food
Sugar Cane Food Peanuts Food
Wheat Food Potato Food
Rye Food Pumpkins Food
Candles Product Sassafras Food
Squash Food
Sweet Potato Food
Tomato Food
Cotton Product
Quinoa Product
Rubber Product
Tobacco Product









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