For thousands of years, people have farmed cultivated land, and domesticated animals to survive. Although, the human species was not always capable of such a feat, and it was not until 8500 BCE this manufacturing of resources began. For a long period, hunters and gatherers were the only form of food production in the world. However, the gradual change to farming occurred due to decline in availability of animals, cultural attitudes, and increased population pressures. In the America’s, food production began in 3500 BCE with the large food packages from the Fertile Crescent and independent food production such as the potato, manioc, and corn used in the Andes, and Mesoamerica. Over time, food production impacted the way civilizations developed within the Americas including their societies, culture, and attitudes.

The Andes, and Mesoamerica in early America, were the first places civilization arose. Such empires as the Inca’s, Aztec’s, and Mayans all had established societies in these regions. In early America, hunters and gatherers were the dominant group. As the number of wild game decreased it became necessary for these societies to change their methods of food production. Also, as causality, the move to farming was necessary to meet the needs of an increasing population throughout all of the societies, that couldn’t be sustained on just hunting and foraging. In early America, plants such as corn, beans, squash, potato, manioc, quinoa, and lima bean were all domesticated. Also domesticated in early America were the turkey and the dog, which provided food and working animals. The impacts of these changes in food production were drastic. Societies with stable food sources could create other jobs for people such as clergy, priests, artisans, merchants, and so forth. Also, the stable food source allowed for government to arise, and the beginning of urbanization and trade.

After 2500 BCE, domestication of different species of plants and animals halted. This was due to the fact that they were limited in the available large seed grasses, domesticable animals, and that the locals began to master their local biology. One of the major impacts of the period after 2500 BCE was the arrival of suitable species such as the sweet potato from the Fertile Crescent. This accelerated food production where suitable plants were previously lacking. War began to plague this period internally. The Aztecs, Inca’s, and Mayans waged war on each other for resources, and trade. Also, in this period, disease took its first victims as it decimated large societies with such diseases as smallpox, measles, flu, typhus, and the sort.

Around 1000 AD the two hemispheres of the world collided. Europeans first landed in the Americas in 1000 AD by the Norse peoples. During this period advances in trading, farm production, and resource management were key, although, Europe caused problems that were irreversible. Francis Pizzaro attacked the Inca Empire in the 16th century annihilating most of the people. Also Cortez from Spain seriously damaged the Aztec society that had taken a firm hold in Mesoamerica. Food production during this period continued on the same path that had been created three thousand years before. Farming was the main source of all agriculture, while trade played important roles for economics in society as well. Only advances in technology advanced food production seriously.

Over the centuries, America changed a great deal from starting as all hunter and gatherer bands to becoming the huge states, and the kleptocratic societies such as the Aztecs. Food production was continuous after its initial change to farming during 3500 BCE. Government, religion, and many other cultural properties became possible because of advances during that time period in early America.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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