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The History of Corn

Updated: May 21, 2019

Corn as we know it today, would not exist if it weren't for it being cultivated and developed.

Scientists believe people living in central Mexico developed corn at least 7000 years ago. It was started from a wild grass called teosinte. Teosinte looked very different from our corn today. The kernels were small and not placed close together, like kernels on the husked ear of modern corn as in the picture above.

Over time corn has spread to all reaches of human cultures, and is one of the most widespread crops on earth.

From Mexico, corn spread north into the Southwestern United States and continued south down the coast to Peru. About 1000 years ago, as Indian people migrated north to the eastern woodlands of present day North America, they brought corn with them.

Corn, also known as maize, was a staple food used by the Indians throughout North and South America. They eventually depended upon this crop for much of their food.


Corn was introduced to the Europeans after Columbus came to the Americas. Though the crop has been embraced by a number of different regions, it remains a key component in the cuisine of its birthplace.

Mexican food is dependent upon the tortilla and is used in staples such the tamale, quesadilla, taco and enchilada.

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