|Grains of Rice|
Rice was first domesticated in the region of the Yangtze River valley in China. Muslims were the means of Asian rice spreading to Europe, Africa and other parts of the world. |
Medieval Islamic texts spoke of medical uses for the plant. African rice, cultivated in west Africa, declined in favour of the Asian species, brought to the African continent by Arabs coming from the east coast between the 6th and 11th centuries CE.
In Iraq rice was grown in some areas of southern Iraq. With the rise of Islam it moved north to Nisibin, the southern shores of the Caspian Sea and then beyond the Muslim world into the valley of Volga and Russia. Muslims brought Asiatic rice to the Iberian Peninsula, Spain in the 10th century. Records indicate it was grown in Valencia and Majorca. Muslims also brought rice to Sicily, Italy, where it was an important crop well before 1468.
After the 15th century, rice spread throughout Italy and then France, later propagating to all the continents during the age of European exploration. Rice was introduced to America by Spanish colonizers introducing the Asian rice brought by Muslims to Mexico in the 1520s and the Portuguese and their African slaves introducing it about the same time to Brazil.
Slaves from West Africa, including many Muslims, helped develop rice plantations in USA. From the enslaved Africans, plantation owners learned how to dyke the marshes and periodically flood the fields.
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