Maize: Dissemination

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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The generally accepted view has been that Columbus discovered maize in the New World in 1492 and brought it back to Spain, whence it was taken with great rapidity to other parts of Europe, to Africa, and through the Middle East and India to China. Proponents of this view acknowledge as a difficulty that the earliest recorded references to maize in Europe give it names such as ‘gran turco’, but suggest that this was mere confusion, of the same sort which resulted in an American bird receiving the name ‘turkey’.