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Coca leaves – South American medicine

By | 2017-09-10T14:01:50+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Science, South America|

Coca farming Like potatoes and tomatoes, 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. The plants make cocaine in their leaves, probably to keep animals from eating them. Woman chewing coca leaves (Uruguay, ca. 500 BC-500 AD) When people first [...]

Who were the Valdivia people? South American history

By | 2017-09-09T18:03:10+00:00 September 9th, 2017|History, South America|

Valdivian carving, ca. 3500-2000 BC 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, they started farming. Around 8000 BC, they [...]

Norte Chico history – South America

By | 2017-09-09T17:15:42+00:00 September 9th, 2017|History, South America|

Stepped platform at Caral (ca. 2200 BC) People probably first arrived in Peru about 13,000 BC. They were following the Pacific coast south from North America. Like the people who settled Brazil, on the other side of South America, around the same time, they ate a lot of fish and shellfish, squash and potatoes. Sometime around 8000 BC, the Norte Chico people started [...]

Central and South American food

By | 2017-09-08T17:13:27+00:00 September 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 | 2017-09-08T15:22:56+00:00 September 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 does chocolate come from? South America

By | 2017-10-14T15:18:41+00:00 June 21st, 2017|Food, South America, What|

Cocoa pods grow right from the trunk of the cocoa tree! (Thanks World Cocoa Foundation) Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, which grew on trees in Central America and South America starting probably about 100 million years ago. Cocoa trees may have gotten their start on the lower slopes of the Andes Mountains. Cocoa trees [...]