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THE RICE

THE HISTORY OF RICE

Oryza Sativa, its botanical name, appeared more than 7 or 8 thousand years ago in the regions of Java. However, another hypothesis places it in the Cambodian lake regions. Evidence as to its Far
East origin comes from archeological excavations in China which prove that rice was already being grown and eaten 7000 years ago. Fossilized remains found in the Yang Tze valley confirm the existence of paddy fields there 3 or 4 thousand years ago.
More reliable and convincing evidence shows that rice was probaly traded through the "Pepper Gate" of Alexandria in Egypt before the Arab ex- pansion in the Mediterranean Basin around 640 A.D. Given its curative qualities it was considered a spice, although less precious than pepper.
The mystery surrounding the origin of the rice plant and its diffusion throughout the world as far as the 45th parallel, the extreme point of its cultivation, will continue to excite students and scholars.
In 1952, the Japanese Matsuo patiently reconstructed the story of rice using genetics, thereby supplying his solution to the mystery.Finds from caves in Hastinapur, India tell us that rice was being eaten in this Uttar Pradesh state around the year 1000 B.C. Ancient legends, handed-down stories,
oriental cooking history and popular sayings are all there to say "yes" to rice being one of the basics. Not only did Oryza Sativa solve daily needs, but stimulated both governments and the people to adopt it for a more rationalized and profitable agriculture and in doing so it put forth some univer-
sal maxims.


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