Skip to comments.African Slaves Brought First Rice Riches to U.S.?
Posted on 12/20/2007 7:49:21 PM PST by Lorianne
A rice variety that made many a colonial plantation owner rich was brought to the United States from West Africa, according to preliminary genetic research.
The finding suggests that African slaves are responsible for nearly every facet of one of the first rice varieties grown in the U.S., as well as one of the most lucrative crops in early American history.
"Not only did they bring the technology, the how-to, they brought the cultivar," said Anna McClung, a genetic researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
West Africans had been growing varieties of rice for several thousand years before the start of the slave trade with the colonies, McClung said.
Ship masters wanting to deliver healthy slaves to the U.S. bought rice in Africa as provisions for the voyage, according to experts. Once in the colonies, slaves grew leftover rice in their own garden plots for food.
In 1685 plantation owners in the Carolinas started experimenting with a rice variety that produced high yields and was easy to cook, McClung said.
The slaves used their rice-growing know-how to convert the swampy Carolina lowlands to thriving rice plantations replete with canals, dikes, and levies, which facilitated periodic flooding of the fields, McClung noted.
The so-called Carolina Gold variety quickly became a high value export crop, primarily to Europe.
"That was really fundamental for the economic growth of this country, and that hinged upon this one variety," McClung said. "So there's been this question of where did that one variety come from?"
(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalgeographic.com ...
Correct. This same line of reasoning is used to condemn the US for the Salem Witch Trials, which occurred in 1692, many years before the founding of the US. Differences between British Crown Colonies and the US of A are intentionally blurred...
There are a few things questionable about this, above and beyond the anachronism of placing the United States into 1685.
Rice that keeps well, that stores and does not spoil, is so-called white rice. The husk and outer bran layer has been removed. Ship stores would likely have been white rice as a result. It will not germinate.
I have no problem with the idea that rice or several other foods associated with the south have ultimately African origins, having been brought over by individuals desinted for slavery. Okra and yams are two others.
But, this is somehow convoluted. If it was brought it was brought to plant, concealed on their persons. The legendary route told to tourists on plantation tours sounds far more plausible, but plagiarizing a brochure isn’t the route to grant money I guess, speaking of routes.
That's what the article says but that's not what 'they' want it to mean.
What a strange and screwed up world we live in.
And how did the slaves know where they were going, and where did they get the foresight to know that rice would be useful once they got there?
Well, in the Low Country (God’s Own Country!), fortunes were built on rice, indigo, and cotton.
I don’t think shipping costs from Africa to Europe would have been lower than from the Carolinas to Europe.
Sailing directly back to Europe from Africa means sailing against the Gulf Stream. Sailing vessels from the Carolinas would follow the Gulf Stream up the East Coast and across the Atlantic.