CONTRIBUTION OF SPAIN AND PORTUGAL TO THE EXCHANGE AND ACCLIMATIZATION OF NEW AND OLD WORLD CROPS
From the mid-16th until the mid-17th centuries, crops from all continents were exchanged following the exploration voyages and commercial routes established by the Spanish and Portuguese. These exchanges modified not only farming practices but also global food production and culinary habits. The Iberian Peninsula had long ago received crops of the Orient arrived through India, Persia, and Greece as well as domestic animals and techniques from the Near East. The Muslim conquest added, Iberian Peninsula was the meeting point of most crops known in the 15th century. All these crops and the agricultural technology were transferred to the New World directly from Iberia or through Madeira and the Canary Islands. Implantation in the Americas depended on the particular crop. Sugarcane, citrus, banana, date, and coconut palms were quickly successful, whereas cereals and legumes were less so Iberian farmers soon accepted maize, potato, long staple cotton, and Phaseolus beans that arrived from the New World. Generally, the Spanish spread these new crops around the Mediterranean while the Portuguese did the same in the Tropical belt, including India, the Far East, and coastal Africa. A notable addition was the Manila Galleon which for almost 300 years shuttled between Acapulco and Manila. Despite unforeseen consequences such as the introduction of human and plant diseases, pests, weed introductions, and erosion by Old World domestic animals in America, the exchange produced great improvements in farming and derived industries and new hybrid cuisines. It was the first, and truest, agricultural and food globalization.
Galán Saúco, V. and Cubero, J.I. (2011). CONTRIBUTION OF SPAIN AND PORTUGAL TO THE EXCHANGE AND ACCLIMATIZATION OF NEW AND OLD WORLD CROPS. Acta Hortic. 916, 71-82
plant exchange, food production, farming practices