Article 114 of 118 Subject: Old World maize: a twisted tale From: email@example.com (Yuri Kuchinsky) Date: 1996/12/30 Newsgroups: sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology, bionet.general,sci.anthropology,sci.bio.misc,sci.agriculture,sci.bio.botany [follow-ups are limited to: sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology,sci.bio.misc] [Part 3 of 4] [This is a continuation of the previous postings based on the article PRE-COLUMBIAN MAIZE IN ASIA, by M. D. W. Jeffreys, in MAN ACROSS THE SEA, U. of Texas Press, 1971, Carrol L. Riley et al., eds.] In the following 2 posts, I will mostly summarise some of the historical and linguistic evidence Jeffreys provides in his article. The antiquity of corn in Asia has been suggested by great many researchers, both modern and not so modern. Here's one testimony, The antiquity of maize in the East Indian Archipelago had, 150 years ago, impressed Crawfurd, the British resident at the court of the Sultan of Java in 1808. As a result of his investigations in the Indian Archipelago, Crawfurd was convinced that maize had been cultivated there before the discovery of the Americas and concluded that maize was indigenous to these islands. Crawfurd (1820: I,365) wrote: After rice, maize or Turkey corn (Zea Maiz) is the most important production of agriculture among the great tribes of the Archipelago. The word, _Jegung_, which I imagine to be purely native, is the term by which this plant is known from one extremity of the Archipelago to another. ... As far as a matter of this nature is capable of demonstrating, it may be conjectured that maize was cultivated in the Indian islands before the discovery of America, and that the plant is an indigenous product. (pp. 376-7) So this report comes from 1808. When and how would have corn implanted itself so firmly in Java? The Dutch rule began only around 1618, and they didn't control the whole island for a long time after this. The case for a European introduction (with a native name!) certainly doesn't make much sense... When the Portuguese first arrived to the East Indies (towards the end of the 15th c.), they described the crops they found there. But there's a debate among agricultural specialists about what was the name for maize in Portuguese at that time. This is a complex debate. Jeffreys makes the case that the Portuguese name for maize was _milho_. If this is so, the case for precolumbian maize in Asia is proven. The Portuguese reported this _milho_ in many places in Asia at contact. But I'm not inclined to engage in complex linguistic debates at this point -- there's just too much solid evidence coming from elsewhere... Just one quote: Moore (1785: I,280), in his translation of the raid in 1508 by Cunna and Albuquerque on Socotra in the Red Sea, mentioned that "the common food is maize or Indian wheat, tamarinds and milk." (p. 381) And now, more historical evidence, this time from the voyages of Magellan. On March 16, 1521, Magellan, out of food, his crews starving and reduced to boiling old bits of leather for sustenance, reached the eastern shores of Suma Island in the Philippines. His ships provided the first contacts that the Philippines had had with Europeans. Magellan had never visited the coasts of Mexico or the Caribbean Sea, and his starving crews would have demolished any grain that he might have been conveying. Sturtevant (1919: 616; quoting A. Adams, _Voy. Samarang II_, 424, 1824), noted that "in 1521 maize was found by Magellan at the island of Limasava." Krieger (1942: 23) likewise was satisfied that Pigafetta, an Italian chronicler who sailed with Magellan in 1519, had observed the cultivation of maize on the island of Limasava. (p. 383) Let's go to China now. Earliest Chinese chronicles always talk about maize as being introduced from "the west". As is well known, normal communication between India and China in ancient times was through Central Asia, by the Silk Road. So this "western" origin of maize in China squares well with the introduction from India. Hance and Mayers (1870: 523) wrote, on the assertion in the _Pun Ts'ao Kang-mu's_ statement for the origin of maize in the countries to the west of China, as follows: And I may add that in my judgement, the remote date assigned by Chinese records to its [maize's] introduction, and the circumstances that the introducer is unknown are irreconcilable with the supposition that it was brought into this country by the Portuguese. (p. 389) Now this, from another scholar, Heine-Geldern (1958: 369), discussing early maize in China, remarked: "All these early Chinese reports on maize state consistently that maize came to them from Tibet and the western parts of China. They therefore call it, among other names, _Hsi fan mai_, "Tibetan wheat." (p. 390) Jeffreys concludes, The Chinese historical evidence is clear that maize reached China overland from the west and that maize had long been cultivated before the arrival of the Europeans. (p. 393) [part 4 of 4 is coming up] Best regards, Yuri. =O= Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto =O= --- a webpage like any other... http://www.io.org/~yuku --- We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides === St. Ignatius of LoyolaClick here to go one level up in the directory.