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Coca leaves – South American medicine

By |2018-05-30T00:00:28+00:00September 10th, 2017|Science, South America|

History of coca leaves: Coca farming in the Andes Mountains When did coca plants evolve? Like potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco, coca plants grow wild in the Andes Mountains of South America. They probably evolved around the same time as the other flowering plants, around 120 million years ago, in the Cretaceous Period. (More about the Cretaceous period) Coca plants [...]

Who were the Valdivia people? South American history

By |2018-11-09T08:22:30+00:00September 9th, 2017|History, South America|

Valdivian carving, ca. 3500-2000 BC The first people in Ecuador People probably first reached Ecuador by boat, about 13,000 BC. They were coming down the Pacific Coast from North America. These people settled in river valleys along the coast. They hunted and gathered their food, some on land but mostly by fishing in the ocean. About the same time as people in Asia and Africa, [...]

Norte Chico history – South America

By |2018-11-09T08:31:23+00:00September 9th, 2017|History, South America|

Norte Chico building: Stepped platform at Caral (ca. 2200 BC) When did people first reach Peru? People probably first arrived in Peru about 13,000 BC. They were following the Pacific coast south from North America. More about Native Americans More South America articles Like the people who settled Brazil, on the other side of South America, around [...]

Who were the Chavin? South American history

By |2018-04-25T20:14:53+00:00September 9th, 2017|South America|

A Chavin carving By around 900 BC, the Norte Chico people of northern Peru developed into the Chavin culture. Like the earlier Norte Chico people, the Chavin people used irrigation to farm potatoes, tomatoes, peanuts, and hot chili peppers. They also farmed corn, but they really ate mostly potatoes and quinoa, which grow better high in the Andes mountains. They hunted deer with spears [...]

Central and South American food

By |2018-04-19T15:03:08+00:00September 8th, 2017|Central America, Food, South America|

Aztec men sharing a meal When people first came to Central and South America, perhaps about 15,000 BC, they hunted and gathered all of their food. They picked wild potatoes, wild teosinte (the ancestor of corn), wild beans and wild tomatoes and avocados. They hunted rabbits and llamas and turkeys, and fished in the rivers and the ocean. For fun, they probably fermented teosinte and other plants into [...]

South American and Central American architecture

By |2018-04-12T08:53:21+00:00September 8th, 2017|Architecture, Central America, South America|

Olmec Pyramid, La Venta, Mexico (500 BC) The earliest big buildings from South America are in Ecuador and Peru, along the Pacific coast. The Norte Chico people and the Valdivia people built stone temples there as early as 3500 BC. Later on, people also built stone buildings in Central America (modern Mexico). Olmec people built them about 1150 [...]

Where do pinto beans come from? South America

By |2017-06-22T22:02:55+00:00June 22nd, 2017|Food, South America|

Pinto Beans (USDA photo) Beans evolved along with the other flowering plants about 360 million years ago. Bean plants are a kind of vine or bush, and the beans grow in pods. There are lots of beans that grow wild in Africa and Asia, so people were already used to eating beans before [...]

Where does cotton come from? South America

By |2018-04-18T19:35:06+00:00June 8th, 2017|Clothing, South America|

A cotton and alpaca wool cloth from Peru, about 200 AD (in the Brooklyn Museum) South America  was the first place in the world where people grew cotton to make clothing. Norte Chico people in northern Peru spun cotton into thread and wove it into cloth around 4000-3000 BC. By 1000 BC cotton cloth, and mixed cotton/alpaca cloth [...]