history of bananas in africa

Succulent and sweet, bananas make an ideal snack--but they can also tell us a lot about human civilization. Until recently, most … Additional evidence indicates that Musa acuminata ssp banksii F. Muell was dispersed out of New Guinea and introduced into eastern Africa by ~3000 BC (Munsa and Nkang), and into South Asia (the Harappan site of Kot Diji) by 2500 cal BC, and probably earlier. Kuk Swamp: Early Agriculture in Papua New Guinea, The Domestication of Sesame Seed - Ancient Gift from Harappa, The History of the Domestication of Chocolate, The History and Domestication of the Sweet Potato, The Origins and History of Rice in China and Beyond, The Three Sisters: the Traditional Intercropping Agricultural Method, Domestication History of the Squash Plant (Cucurbita spp), History of the Domestication of Cows and Yaks, History of the Domestication of Sunflowers, Sahul: Pleistocene Continent of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, The Domestication of Pigs: Sus Scrofa's Two Distinct Histories. Antonius Musa was the personal physician to Roman emperor Octavius Augustus, and it was he who was credited for promoting the cultivation of the unusual African fruit from 63 to 14 B.C. After the harvest, the plant is cut down, and one sucker is allowed to grow up to produce the next crop. Bananas were probably taken to Madagascar by the Arabs and spread from there to mainland Africa. Northern Africa was an integral part of classical Mediterranean civilization. Instead, early bananas were green or red, and were prepared using a variety of cooking methods. Bananas were discovered by the Portuguese on the Atlantic coast of Africa. They were brought west by Arab conquerors in 327 B.C. Indeed, banana cultivation was the economic backbone of some African kingdoms that thrived before European colonization. Kuk Swamp, in Papua New Guinea, so far the earliest unequivocal evidence for banana cultivation, had wild bananas there throughout the Holocene, and banana phytoliths are associated with the earliest human occupations at Kuk Swamp, between ~10,220-9910 cal BP. Banana phytoliths are uniquely shaped: they are volcaniform, shaped like little volcanoes with a flat crater at the top. The first recorded sale of bananas in England was in 1633 however they were expensive until the end of the 19th century. Archaeological evidence from the Kuk Swamp of the highlands of New Guinea indicates that bananas were deliberately planted by at least as long ago as 5000-4490 BC (6950-6440 cal BP). It remains to be seen if these very early banana farmers were the direct ancestors of later African agriculturists, he says, "or whether they were societies that disappeared and left little or no trace." Between 1939 and 2020: Bananas experienced an average inflation rate of 3.25% per year.This rate of change indicates significant inflation. Yet radiocarbon dating of the samples indicated occupation up to 4500 years ago. Even though the plant thrived in Africa, it is believed to have its origins in Oceania and parts of eastern Asia. Between 9-14 months after planting, each plant produces some 20-40 kilograms of fruit. 1700 ha of total are of this region cultivate a large amount of banana. 73% of all South African banana exports in 2010 went into Africa while a further 25% was not allocated at the time of reporting. Banana: Cultivation * In 1516 Tomás de Berlanga, a Spanish priest, brought banana stalks to the New World, to the island of Hispañiola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Mbida and others published The initial history of bananas in Africa. The earliest documentary reference to bananas in Africa is from the sixth century A.D. Exploitation of early wild forms of bananas has been noted at the Beli-Lena site of Sri Lanka by c 11,500-13,500 BP, Gua Chwawas in Malaysia by 10,700 BP, and Poyang Lake, China by 11,500 BP. If correct, these findings would radically alter current assumptions about when agriculture came to the continent. The different varieties are characterized by wide differences in peel color and thickness, flavor, fruit size, and resistance to disease. All rights Reserved. Africa - Africa - Fruits and vegetables: Among the important fruits are bananas, pineapples, dates, figs, olives, and citrus; the principal vegetables include tomatoes and onions. Bananas and plantains are the world’s fourth most important food crop and are of critical importance to the food security and income generation of more than 70 million Africans. Bananas are basically giant herbs, rather than trees, and there are approximately 50 species in the Musa genus, which includes the edible forms of bananas and plantains. Until recently, most African scholars assumed that the banana, which is native to New Guinea, was not introduced into Africa earlier than about 2000 years ago. A team consisting of Julius Lejju of Mbarara University in Uganda, Peter Robertshaw of California State University, San Bernadino, and David Taylor of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, analyzed sediment samples from the site of Munsa, about 125 kilometers northwest of Kampala. The genus is split into four or five sections, based on the number of chromosomes in the plant, and the region where they are found. Little is known of the size of Africa’s population; by 1500 it may have totaled 30 to 60 million. Uganda grows more Bananas, in a small country the size of the State of Oregon than any other nation in the World, but India. A Brief History Bananas were originally found in South East Asia, mainly in India. From there sea traders could have brought them to East Africa across the Indian Ocean. The banana actually originated in South Asia, and was distributed across Africa by the Arabs. Kongo was founded in 1390, so that's certainly the middle ages. Bananas have been cultivated and hybridized a number of times over several thousand years, so we'll concentrate on the original domestication, and leave the hybridization to botanists. Drivers would make eight to ten trips to the city where they would off load their bananas. The banana is well distributed throughout tropical Africa, but it is intensively cultivated as an irrigated enterprise in Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, and Madagascar. This is particularly true in Africa, which has very few native domesticable plants. Perhaps 87% of the total bananas consumed worldwide today are locally consumed; the rest is distributed outside of the wet tropical regions in which they are grown. AA and AAA cultivars may have been introduced directly from southeast Asia, whereas AAB and ABB hybrids are more likely to have reached Africa from India or Sri Lanka. ), it is also likely that bananas may have been introduced to Africa several times. It is evident from Figure 7 that over the past decade, most of South Africa’s exports of bananas were destined to the African market. In 1516, they were taken from the Canary Islands to Hispaniola by a Spanish missionary, then onto Jamaica. Genetics and linguistic studies also help in understanding banana history. The healthy breakfast fruit, banana, is called such because it … The fruit is non-seasonal, and thus available year round, where it provides key foodstuffs between seasonal harvests of other staple crops. Portuguese sailors brought bananas to Europe from West Africa in the early fifteenth century. There are differences in the phytoliths between varieties of bananas, but variations between wild and domesticated versions are not as yet definitive, so additional forms of research need to be used to fully understand banana domestication. For many years after, bananas became the main crop of export for Saint Lucia. The villages at Munsa, for example, had vanished by 1800 C.E. From there it was introduced to the Americas by Spanish missionaries. PDF | On Jan 1, 2005, C.M. - Between 300-500 C.E., Madagascar was established and started banana cultivation over there. The introduction of the banana to Africa occurred so long ago that areas of Uganda and the Congo basin have become secondary centers of genetic diversity. AAAS is a partner of HINARI, AGORA, OARE, CHORUS, CLOCKSS, CrossRef and COUNTER. Why is a banana called a banana? © 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science. •Arabs traders brought the banana to the Middle East and Africa in the 7th century. They cultivated the fruit on the Canary Islands. * By the late 1400s, bananas were a staple food along the western coast of Africa where Portuguese sailors collected plants and brought them to the Canary Islands, between Africa and Spain. The other States where bananas are grown in South Africa are: Limpopo; Kiepersol; The main area accounts for the production of this beneficial fruit are North and South Coasts of Kwa-Zulu Natal. The earliest prior evidence indicates that cultivation dates to no earlier than late 6th century CE. During the period under review exports into Africa peaked at 1 140 tons in 2001. Such is the case with a new archaeological discovery, which indicates that Africans were harvesting the fruit as early as 4500 years ago. Bananas for sale on a street cart, circa 1902, when the fruit was still a curiosity in the US. Portuguese sailors discovered bananas in West Africa and established banana plantations in the 15th century off the coast, in the Canary lslands. Bananas are the most popular fruit in the United States today. When settlers came from southeast Asia to settle the island of Madagascar a little after that, they probably also brought bananas with them. There is linguistic evidence that bananas were known in Madagascar around that time. A reply to Jan Vansina, Azania, 2003 | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ResearchGate While this implies a long history of cultivation and experimentation within Africa (but see ref. These bananas are presently referred to as plantains or cooking bananas in order to distinguish them from the sweet bananas we know today. Banana had reached into North Africa and finally carried to the history of bananas in africa East and Africa in Americas... In understanding banana history to grow up to 4500 years ago the case with a crater. When agriculture came to the continent staple diet and are eaten in nearly all households about 1000 ago...: bananas experienced an average inflation rate of change indicates significant inflation -- but they can tell... Different varieties are characterized by wide differences in peel color and thickness, flavor, size. 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