When and Where Agriculture was First Developed
Agriculture is the cultivation of plants and animals that are useful to humans. Agriculture was first developed in different parts of the world around the time of the end of the last Ice Age, also known as the Pleistocene glacial period, approximately 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. The origin of agriculture is often referred to as the Neolithic Revolution.
In the Fertile Crescent, domesticated plants appeared between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago. The earliest known domesticated crop is einkorn, a type of grain that was grown in Turkey 10,500 years ago. Evidence of early agriculture in Israel includes sickles, tools for grinding, and storage facilities dating back to 11,500 years before present. Farming rapidly spread throughout this area.
In China, rice production was thriving by 8,000 years before present, and spread to Korea and Japan. Other crops grown in East Asia include soybeans, adzuki beans and buckwheat.
Corn or maize was the most prevalent crop grown in the Americas, where agriculture first appeared in Mexico and South America between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago. Many other types of food were grown in the region, including beans, potatoes, squash, peanuts and cotton.
Approximately 10,000 years ago in northern Africa, dry weather caused the desert to extend toward the south, and hunters and gatherers settled near lakes and rivers where they could reliably catch fish and plant seeds and roots that they had collected.