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Peanuts and the Atlantic Slave Trade

Peanuts and the Atlantic Slave Trade

Courtesy of the New York Public Library, Circa 1900

Courtesy of the New York Public Library, Circa 1900

Dr. Brian Ward of Clemson University holding a Carolina African Runner Peanut plant

Dr. Brian Ward of Clemson University holding a Carolina African Runner Peanut plant

In my book, Hog and Hominy , I show that before the 19th century, the Portuguese introduced South American plants to the coast of West and Central Africa including peanuts.  Overtime African farmers incorporated the plant into their fields and cookery particularly as one pot meals. Enslaved Africans then introduced peanuts to North Americans during the African slave trade. In colonial America, particular the south, most considered them poor folks food or slave vittles. Dr. David Shields of the University of South Carolina tracked down a Carolina African Runner Peanut, one of the first peanut plants that Africans introduced to the Carolinas. He then introduced the plant to Clemson University in South Carolina which is now cultivating the plant to reintroduce into southern fields. 

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Cinco De Mayo Through The Lens of Food

Cinco De Mayo Through The Lens of Food

Native American Culture and Chesapeake Cookery

Native American Culture and Chesapeake Cookery