Between 1939 and 2020: Bananas experienced an average inflation rate of 3.25% per year.This rate of change indicates significant inflation. Bananas were probably taken to Madagascar by the Arabs and spread from there to mainland Africa. Fossil plant fragments, called phytoliths, of the banana genus Musa are present in these earliest levels, the team reports this month in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Instead, early bananas were green or red, and were prepared using a variety of cooking methods. The earliest banana evidence found in Africa is from Munsa, a site in Uganda dated to 3220 cal BC, although there are problems with the stratigraphy and chronology. Banana: Cultivation From there it was introduced to the Americas by Spanish missionaries. Bananas (Musa spp) are a tropical crop, and a staple in the wet tropic areas of Africa, the Americas, mainland and island Southeast Asia, South Asia, Melanesia, and the Pacific islands. Kuk Swamp: Early Agriculture in Papua New Guinea, The Domestication of Sesame Seed - Ancient Gift from Harappa, The History of the Domestication of Chocolate, The History and Domestication of the Sweet Potato, The Origins and History of Rice in China and Beyond, The Three Sisters: the Traditional Intercropping Agricultural Method, Domestication History of the Squash Plant (Cucurbita spp), History of the Domestication of Cows and Yaks, History of the Domestication of Sunflowers, Sahul: Pleistocene Continent of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, The Domestication of Pigs: Sus Scrofa's Two Distinct Histories. Even though the plant thrived in Africa, it is believed to have its origins in Oceania and parts of eastern Asia. •Arabs traders brought the banana to the Middle East and Africa in the 7th century. W ild bananas can be found in the wet, hot forests of New Guinea and South and Southeast Asia, but for many years the origin of domesticated bananas was a complete mystery. Today there are hundreds of fully domesticated banana varieties, and an uncertain number are still in various stages of domestication: that is to say, they still are inter-fertile with wild populations. Driving through the country, banana plants and plantations are seen everywhere. They were brought west by Arab conquerors in 327 B.C. Bananas were discovered by the Portuguese on the Atlantic coast of Africa. The evolution, or plant systematics, of bananas are difficult to study archaeologically, and so the domestication history was unknowable until recently. Genetics and linguistic studies also help in understanding banana history. Bananas are planted at a typical density of between 1500-2500 plants per square hectare. Archaeological evidence from the Kuk Swamp of the highlands of New Guinea indicates that bananas were deliberately planted by at least as long ago as 5000-4490 BC (6950-6440 cal BP). In addition, linguistic studies of local terms for bananas support the notion of the spread of the banana away from its point of origin: island southeast Asia. * By the late 1400s, bananas were a staple food along the western coast of Africa where Portuguese sailors collected plants and brought them to the Canary Islands, between Africa and Spain. Additional evidence indicates that Musa acuminata ssp banksii F. Muell was dispersed out of New Guinea and introduced into eastern Africa by ~3000 BC (Munsa and Nkang), and into South Asia (the Harappan site of Kot Diji) by 2500 cal BC, and probably earlier. They are genetically distinct from the other AAA cultivars, having evolved locally in the African Great Lakes region for over a millennium. Critical crop. Indeed, banana cultivation was the economic backbone of some African kingdoms that thrived before European colonization. The genus is split into four or five sections, based on the number of chromosomes in the plant, and the region where they are found. By the 1200s, the banana had reached into North Africa and in Moorish-controlled Spain. After the harvest, the plant is cut down, and one sucker is allowed to grow up to produce the next crop. All rights Reserved. There are differences in the phytoliths between varieties of bananas, but variations between wild and domesticated versions are not as yet definitive, so additional forms of research need to be used to fully understand banana domestication. Little is known of the size of Africa’s population; by 1500 it may have totaled 30 to 60 million. The different varieties are characterized by wide differences in peel color and thickness, flavor, fruit size, and resistance to disease. The earliest well-supported evidence is at Nkang, a site located in southern Cameroon, which contained banana phytoliths dated between 2,750 to 2,100 BP. The banana actually originated in South Asia, and was distributed across Africa by the Arabs. Perhaps 87% of the total bananas consumed worldwide today are locally consumed; the rest is distributed outside of the wet tropical regions in which they are grown. When settlers came from southeast Asia to settle the island of Madagascar a little after that, they probably also brought bananas with them. In 1516, they were taken from the Canary Islands to Hispaniola by a Spanish missionary, then onto Jamaica. For people living in the tropics, bananas can be vital to daily survival. Furthermore, over a thousand different types of cultivars of bananas and plantains are recognized today. The bright yellow one found most frequently in western markets is called the Cavendish. 73% of all South African banana exports in 2010 went into Africa while a further 25% was not allocated at the time of reporting. Cultivation of the original banana is believed to pre-date rice. 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