The History Of The Potato

Brought to Europe from the New World by Spanish explorers, the lowly potato gave rise to modern industrial agriculture. Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. But in the 18th century the tuber was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others—part of a global ecological convulsion set off by Christopher Columbus. Many researchers believe that the potato’s arrival in northern Europe spelled an end to famine there. (Corn, another American crop, played a similar but smaller role in southern Europe.) More than that, as the historian William H. McNeill has argued, the potato led to empire: “By feeding rapidly growing populations, [it] permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.” The potato, in other words, fueled the rise of the West.

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Potaotes saved Europeans from starvation during and after wars. In the old days invading armies used to set fire on wheat fields thereby causing artificial faamine after wars but since potatoes are tuber crops they helped quite a great deal