Pigs in the New World

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Pigs of Spanish, French, African, and English stock were all imported to the New World. British settlers introduced pigs to Virginia, where they adapted well. For a short time the settlers at Jamestown kept them confined on an island still known as ‘Hog Island’, eventually allowing the animals to roam freely in both country and town. They spread westwards with 19th-century settlers, and the Midwest became an important pig-farming area. Pigs were introduced to Caribbean islands by the Spanish, and escaped to become feral; on Jamaica, these ‘wild’ hogs were caught for their lard which was sold to Cuba. Feral pigs of Spanish stock are also found in Mexico, where they are known as javalinas.