In Chapter 8, of Guns, Germs, and Steel, what are the 12 major crops that have been domesticated?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In many cases in this book, Diamond provides nice lists that can easily be read.  This is not one of those cases.  Here, you have to look within the text, on p. 132 in the paperback edition of the book.  There is a list, but it does not even have the word “twelve” in it.  Instead, Diamond says that there are a “dozen blockbusters” that are the most important crops that have been domesticated for human use.  These are:

  • Cereals:  These are grains that are used for major sources of starch and carbohydrates and such.  They can be made into breads and tortillas and other such dishes.  They are wheat, corn, rice, barley, and sorghum.
  • Pulse:  This is a term for a legume that can be used as food for humans or animals.  The only pulse that Diamond lists is soybeans.
  • Root crops:  Here, Diamond lists potatoes, manioc, and sweet potatoes.
  • Sugar sources:  These are the sugar beet and sugarcane.
  • Fruit:  Bananas.

Of course, there are many other domesticated plants.  However, these are the ones that Diamond identifies as the most important.

Sources:

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