forwarded message from John Conover

From: John Conover <>
Subject: forwarded message from John Conover
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 23:16:55 -0800

In case you are curious, of all the gold and silver pilfered in the
Americas by the Spanish in the 16'th trough 19'th centuries, and the
tobacco products, exported in the name of the British Crown, in 17'th
through 18'th centuries, and the current world wide trade in cocaine,
the enduring contribution to the wealth of nations from the
exploitation of the Americas is the potato. It is second, only to
rice, in feeding the world's population.  Third is also endogenous to
the Americas-corn. Together, potatoes and corn are the staple diet of
about a third of the world's population.  Rice, about half.


BTW, the potato first achieved popularity in Ireland, during the
------- start of forwarded message (RFC 934 encapsulation) -------
Message-ID: <"NJBq_3.0.bV1.MW_1p"@netcom6>
From: John Conover <>
To: John Conover <>
Subject: Evidence for global pre-Columbian trade
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 18:10:55 PST

                          UPI Science News
        SEATTLE, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A University of California scientist says
extensive trade and cultural contacts existed between the Americas and
the rest of the world long before Columbus.
        Geographer Stephen Jett of UC Davis says one of the most striking
pieces of evidence is that residues of tobacco and coca -- the leaves
that contain the raw material of cocaine -- have been found in mummies
from acient Egypt.
        Evidence is mounting, Jett told a session of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science Seattle today (Sunday), that the Pacific
Ocean -- long thought to be an almost impassable barrier -- was in fact a
highway busy with ocean-going rafts.
        But Jett says he's not sure if there was regular trade in tobacco and
coca between the Americas and the Egypt of the Pharaohs. Instead, the
leaves could have found their way to Egypt once and then were grown
there as a specialty crop for the Pharaohs.
        Another geographer, Carl Johannessen of the University of Oregon,
says carvings of corn -- native to North America -- on ancient Indian
temples shows corn was an important religious symbol there as early as
the 11th century.
        Johannessen says the corn symbols imply that there was trade between
India and the Americas. He rules out the possibility that animals or
birds might have accidentally transported the corn.
        For one thing, he says, ``it's a big ocean'' and it's unlikely that
birds or animals could make the trip. But a more compelling reason, he
says, is that domesticated corn has to be grown by humans; a stray
kernel dropped by a bird would not grow.
        Another North American plant -- the sunflower -- is also frequently
depicted in India, Johannessen says.

------- end -------

John Conover,,

Copyright © 1997 John Conover, All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: Fri Mar 26 18:55:12 PST 1999 $Id: 970216231703.800.html,v 1.0 2001/11/17 23:05:50 conover Exp $
Valid HTML 4.0!