Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas
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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accounts agricultural Americas areas Asian Atlantic slave trade Black Cambridge Cape Carolina rice century cereal Coast colonial contributed crop culture demands diffusion domestication early economy eighteenth century environments established European evidence Exchange experience export farming female Figure ﬁrst ﬂooding ﬂoodplains Gambia gardens Georgia glaberrima grain groups growing grown hand harvest Herskovits History important indigenous inland swamps introduction involved irrigated known labor land landscape mangrove markets mentioned method Middle milling Niger North noted origin period plantation planted planters Portuguese pounds preparation present processing production rainfall references region resulted reveals rice cultivation rice plantations rice region rice system Richards River role season seed Senegal settlement ships Sierra Leone signiﬁcance skilled slavery societies soil South Carolina task techniques throughout tidal tion transfer University Press Upper varieties West Africa West African rice wetlands women Wood World York
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