Agricultural Biodiversity and the Columbian Exchange

Authored by: David E. Williams

Routledge Handbook of Agricultural Biodiversity

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415746922
eBook ISBN: 9781315797359
Adobe ISBN:


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The fortuitous ‘discovery’ of the American hemisphere by Christopher Columbus in 1492 opened the door for the largest and most portentous dissemination of agrobiodiversity in history, involving for the first time the great centers of crop origins and diversity in both the Old and New Worlds. The sheer number of species participating in this exchange, and their impacts on the economies, cultures and diets of their adopted lands, remains unprecedented. In the ensuing five centuries, the widespread adoption of these crops has given rise to a truly global interdependence on crop genetic resources.

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