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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Milho, Makka, and Yu Mai: Early Journeys of Zea Mays to Asia

item Desjardins, Anne
item McCarthy, Susan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2004
Publication Date: June 15, 2004
Citation: Desjardins, A.E., Mccarthy, S.A. 2004. Milho, makka, and yu mai: early journeys of Zea mays to Asia. National Agricultural Library Website. Available:

Technical Abstract: Maize originated in Mexico and was first brought eastward to Europe by Columbus after 1492. In this article we use historical records and linguistic evidence to trace the probable early journeys of maize to Africa and Asia. We discover that maize had spread eastward across Asia into China by the end of the 16th century. Maize rapidly became a critical food for poor farmers in the mountainous regions of Asia. Maize continues today to feed many of the poorest human populations in Asia.

Last Modified: 4/19/2015
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