Corn, Cotton and Chocolate: How the Maya Modified the World

No civilization within the historical past of our planet existed longer than the traditional Mayans. The historic interval that they had been on the forefront of lasted for 3500 years. That is an unparalleled determine and, arguably, one which can by no means be beat. This civilization reigned from roughly 2500 B.C. to 900 A.D. Nonetheless, most of what they achieved went all however unnoticed. There was no written or oral information to traverse the globe to explain their exploits and the impression that they had on the planet and the remainder of mankind. In essence, they had been the ‘phantoms of historical past’.

CORN, COTTON AND CHOCOLATE: HOW THE MAYANS CHANGED THE WORLD seems to be like a textbook, one thing you may need to buy to your Social Research class. It is also a extremely quoted textual content to assist in your time period paper or thesis analysis. Appears like some fairly dry stuff, huh? I’m blissful to say that within the arms of creator James O’Kon, this eye-opening work was by no means brief on surprises and will gladly maintain the curiosity of any clever individual in search of to be taught extra about maybe probably the most influential civilization of all-time.

Moderately than a straight chapter by chapter overview I believed I’d make issues extra attention-grabbing.

10 Issues The World Can Thank The Mayans For

1. The Mayans had been Cosmic Philosophers. They at all times thought-about themselves sky watchers and this want to grasp the universe above and round us made them the earliest recognized astronomers. They had been in a position to achieve an uncanny information of the harmonious composition of the cosmos. Sure, properly earlier than Carl Sagan!

2. They had been the best agronomists in phrase historical past. They made well-known the time period cultivar. Not simply an assemblage of vegetation or flowers however a pure course of honed via cautious cultivation. They’ll thank Columbus for spreading the phrase round his world journeys concerning the authentic ‘flower energy’ individuals.

3. The invention of the quantity zero. That is nothing to snigger at (no pun meant). Mathematicians have proclaimed that one of many singular accomplishments of the human period, and the best mental feat of the Maya, was the quantity zero. This was a tradition that was so introspective and clever that they had been truly in a position to grasp the idea of one thing having no worth — however nonetheless making it the place to begin for numerical sequences!

4. Maize. Lengthy considered a Native American discover, Maize or as we extra generally confer with it — corn — was led to as a consequence of subtle cultivation of excessive yielding grain. Some have referred to as it the Maya’s best invention. They had been eons forward of the development of genetic manipulation in creating meals merchandise — notably, one wherein individuals at present can not go to the films with out having fun with the ‘scorching air-popped’ model of Maize.

5. The avocado. The fruit botanically generally known as Persea americana has grown in recognition lately as a consequence of its’ well being advantages. This tropical delight is the central ingredient within the beloved Guacamole Dip. The Mayans cultivated Avocado timber whose origins might stretch again to the Cenozoic Period.

6. The Cassava and the way it modified the best way the world is fed. Cassava root was additionally mass cultivated by the Mayans and the ‘bread of the tropics’ took off in many various cultures all through the world. This nice supply of carbohydrates stands behind solely sugarcane and sugar beets in that class.

7. Bubble Gum. O’Kon talks concerning the mass-produced sticks of arduous gum that used to accompany each bundle of baseball playing cards (lengthy earlier than collectors scoffed on the apply as reducing their worth). We will thank the Mayans who took Chicle or the sap of the sapodilla tree and turned it right into a substance to be chewed and loved. Undecided if they really blew bubbles with it or not…

8. Chocolate/Cocoa. Many people, notably the women, have a really private relationship with chocolate. Are you able to think about Valentine’s Day or Easter with out it? It was the Mayans love affair with chocolate and cocoa normally, 4 millennia in the past, that made this the deal with of selection. Sure, they even made a heat, frothy beverage from it!

9. Cotton. This has lengthy been attributed to the nice cotton plantations of the southern United States. Nonetheless, it was as soon as once more the professional cultivation of the wild cotton plant that turned this into the world’s most useful and productive vegetable fiber. It additionally makes for some actually clean and breathable cloth for clothes.

10. Tobacco. Cigarette and cigar smoking, together with the second-hand smoke they produce, could also be taboo lately as a result of antagonistic well being situations they will trigger. That being stated, it’s unimaginable to not acknowledge how each civilization has been touched by tobacco — from Native American peace pipes to the Marlboro Man. Once more, the Mayans cultivation of Nicotiana paved the best way for a vice that has been loved by each civilization that adopted them.

This simply scratches the floor on all of the terrific analysis James O’Kon utilized to this textual content. A enjoyable and attention-grabbing learn. Extra importantly, you’ll be able to really feel O’Kon’s enthusiasm for the topic in each paragraph and that additionally elevates it far above your common textbook.

by Ray Palen