Potatoes were primarily grown in South America about 1,800 years ago by the Incas, after being independently domesticated multiple times. Potatoes were brought to Europe during the next part of the sixteenth century by invading Spaniards.
However, severe crop failures in Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century (particularly in 1846 and 1848) due to late blight and also the ensuing Irish Potato Famine prompted a more cautious approach toward reliance on the plant.
Let us try to knowtheorigin of potatoes in this post briefly. Few edible crops stood out among the many that appeared at the birth of modern civilization and spread over the globe due to their toughness, storage quality, and nutritional worth.
The potato, an indigenous flowering plant of South America and also the Andes mountains (which is modern-day’s northwestern Bolivia and southern Peru), has proven its worth to our forefathers, who have cultivated, nourished, and protected it for the last ten thousand years.
Potatoes are the most essential aspect of world cuisine and are considered the world’s fourth-largest food crop, centuries after they were first introduced to North America and Europe (following rice, maize, and wheat).
We now have got access to over a thousand distinct types of potatoes, which are grown all over the world thanks to considerable research and also centuries of careful breeding.
Potatoes originated 350 million years back when they evolved from a poisonous progenitor of the nightshade plant (this plant family evolved eventually not just into potatoes but into tobacco, bell peppers, chili peppers, and tomatoes as well).
In the Andean mountains of South America, between Bolivia and Peru, the potato steadily evolved into its modern form. Approximately fifteen thousand years ago, human immigrants arrived in that part of the earth, and around eight millennia BC, wild potatoes were domesticated.
From then on, potatoes gradually spread across the whole continent, but they gained prominence in the 1500s only when the first Spanish conquistadors began venturing beyond South America’s shores, particularly after the 1530s when they hunted for only gold in Peru.
The potato received special attention, among their many discoveries, and between the years 1570 and 1593, they introduced the plant to Europe (the Canary Islands got it in 1562).
The potato became a common crop in Europe in the early 1800s, but its popularity was severely challenged from 1845 to 1849 when illness wiped out Ireland’s entire potato supply.
Around one million people perished of starvation during the “Great Hunger,” which drove a considerable number of people for emigrating from Ireland (500 thousand were left for Australia and North America).
The USA was one of the last major countries to accept potatoes as a staple food. For a lot many years, they considered this crop to be suitable for horses or other livestock. Only after the efforts of horticulture Luther Burbank (1849-1926) in 1872 did the American potato business gain traction.
Burbank’s discovery of a disease-resistant potato hybrid, as well as another hybrid of potato that was deployed in Ireland to treat the blight pandemic made this possible.