Significance of Corn in South America

There are many things to do with the corn in South America. Corn comes in a lot of varieties. Most widely known strains of corn, the most valuable one being dent corn or field corn which is primarily used as cattle feed, sweet corn that is often sold at roadside stands and of course the most loved corn- popcorn.

One of the best ways to eat corn is on the cob. It is important to remember that corn starts converting its sugars to starch right after being harvested. The easiest thing to do with corn is just to eat it on the cob. Simply unwrap it, boil it, and eat it. Put lots of butter on it. You can roast it on the grill to make it savory. Additionally, sweet corn can also be eaten uncooked if the ear is picked before it is fully mature.

Corn can also be used to make flour for cooking. Corn flour is used by the South America to make many corn-based products and is what is used in tortillas and taco shells. Corn is ground into a fine powder and then used like flour. The starch of corn can also be used as a thickener in other dishes. Corn is also put to use for making excellent sauces, cakes, puddings, sweets and desserts because the starch acts as a thickening agent.

Additionally, Corn is also a staple cereal, second to rice and wheat. It helps to produce some essential industrial products as well. The main ingredient in corn which is starch, when dried can be used to convert into dextrin or can even be put to use in its present state. In case, it is not dried; it can be processed into sugars and syrups. Oil, which is extracted from the corn seed is used in the manufacture of soap and glycerin and if refined in extreme conditions, can serve the purpose as a salad oil or can used for cooking purposes as well. You will find corn starch and corn syrup in all the food products on the shelf. Corn is cheap, so it is used in everything, which is not always good.

Corn is also an outstanding feed for livestock attributing to its benefits of high in energy, easily digestible and low in fiber features. The corn crop can be either cut green after it is harvested or dried for fodder to be given to farm animals. Corn is fed to both cows and pigs to fatten then up. It is a cheap feed too and a lot easier way to feed many cows than having them all graze in a field.

All parts of the corn are put to optimal use. You can use the husk can be braided and weaved to make masks, baskets, sleeping mats. Fabrics that are used to make your clothing are strengthened and hardened with corn starch. You can also use ethanol to drive your car. There are lots of uses for corn, and if you grow a good crop of corn, you’ll be able to eat your corn a lot of different ways.

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A Look At The Origin Of Cocoa From South America To Its Present

The cocoa tree famous from its product chocolate has a long history. Chocolate which is made from a cocoa tree is one of the world’s favorite foodstuffs. Enjoyed as a drink, in cakes, in delicate assortments and solid bars, chocolate comes in a myriad of forms and its universal appeal has made it spread across all corners of the world. But despite often being associated with the countries of Northern and Central Europe – Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Britain – Cocoa and South American Culture are inseparable. Cocoa has a long history and actually originates from much, much further afield.

Unknown to Europeans until Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors arrived in Central and South America around the sixteenth century AD, chocolate had been of enormous cultural significance to the ancient civilizations of the New World for millennia. It played a huge role in the religious rites of the Mayan and Aztec cultures of modern-day Mexico and, indeed, the modern English language word chocolate is believed to have derived from a Nahuatl – the language of the Aztecs – word xocolatl, meaning ‘bitter water’. This term gives us a clue how chocolate was consumed at this time. Beans from the cocoa tree were roasted and ground into a paste before being mixed with chili peppers and other substances and then added to water to create a spicy and bitter drink with a harsh taste.

Early European explorers were mystified that a drink they considered virtually unpalatable – a Spanish priest called it loathsome – was so popular amongst the natives and began to experiment with chocolate themselves. By removing the chilies and adding sugar and other sweeteners, it was possible to create a delicious drink that appealed to European sensibilities and the beverage soon exploded in popularity in Spanish America. Before long, it was being exported across the Atlantic in vast quantities.

Spain’s early production of cocoa beans was highly dependent on slavery and chocolate was considered such a luxury that only royalty and the cream of nobility could afford it. While the chocolate was available to anyone with enough money in other parts of Europe, like England, it was to be some time before it found a mass audience.

At the very end of the eighteenth century, confectioners in Europe finally discovered how to create chocolate as a solid cheaply and easily and within a few decades its popularity had exploded. By 1826 it was being sold in large quantities in Italy and Switzerland and in the late 1840s, two of the most famous brands in Britain were created; Fry and Cadbury’s, both of which survive to this day. Milk chocolate was developed in 1875 by a Swiss chocolate maker in conjunction with Nestle, a company who at the time produced only baby food and by the turn of the century chocolate was being mass produced in affordable bars that could be enjoyed by those from all levels of society.

Today chocolate is enjoyed by billions of people around the world and is considered a favorite indulgence by many people. Chocolate hampers are now a firmly established part of the any holiday season and manufacturers are constantly discovering new ways to delight and astonish our taste-buds with chocolate every passing year.

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Aztec Art

Aztec Art is available in different forms. You will find them in drawings, paintings, pottery and sculptures. The ancient art was a form of paying tribute to their gods as well as expressing their religious beliefs. There are several ancient Aztec Art forms which are still admired today by many. They include well-crafted arts such as paintings, pictographs, drawings among others. They can be seen painted on temples and ancient artifacts which are still available in museums. The arts were created with outstanding designs. The various forms of arts available are outlined as below:

Pottery

Pottery was an important art in the life of Aztec. It was also used as a religious craft. There were pottery of different shapes and designs which were created to depict different designs. The designs were meaningful to the culture and religion of the people in different ways. The designs which were placed on most Aztec pottery work were used to depict specific Aztec tribe or even gods. They used the pottery art to remind people of different religious happenings or tribe in their community.

Sculpture

Pottery allowed the Aztec to depict different religious events through clay; they also used stones to create different forms of sculpture which they used to express religion. They spent several days to curve standing stones and create different images which represented their gods. Apart from standing stones, they also worked on wall sculptress to create freestanding idols which they placed in their temples. The stone arts sculptures were created specifically to represent their gods and the sacrificial victims. They curved images of people, animals and other figures out of obsidian, jade and quartz. The calendar stone is among famous sculpture in the culture. The sculpture weighs about 22 metric tons with 12 feet diameter. The center of the stone has the face of the sun god. There are several circular bands symbolizing the days and heavens around the face of the sun god.

Aztec Drawings

Ancient pictographs are among the famous forms of Aztec Art. The pictographs were mostly small pictures which represented sound or objects. The objects were mostly used in their counting system. The ancient Aztec counting systems was based on base 20. This is unlike the modern society counting which is based on base 10. A flag picture was used to represent the base number. A fir tree picture was used to represent 400 and a picture of a pouch was used to represent 8000. The advanced form of Aztec Art was as well used to conduct business and record their history.

Aztec Art and Rituals

The craftsmen from the society were called upon to create specialized items which were used to celebrate different religious ceremonies. Some of the arts which were used in Aztec rituals include Aztec warrior art and masks. The Aztec warrior art was used as a basis to create tattoos which represent various warrior accomplishments. The tattoos were added to bodies of other warriors during special rituals. The mask designs were used to depict gods and important people in the culture of Aztec. Through the study of remains of Aztec Art, historians can easily study the way of life of the once powerful society in North America.

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Inca Art

The Inca civilization can be dated back to 1200 A.C. By 1442; they had built such a strong empire that the Inca Empire has been known as the greatest empire of pre-Columbian America. The Incas had an excellent administration system, which was based on the barter system of luxury goods and labor. Every citizen of the empire had to work to get food and clothing. There was no other form of payments. They hoarded up gold and silver and used them in building temples specifically for the Sun-god. They believed that gold was the sweat of the sun, and silver was the tears of the moon.

For the Incas, gold symbolized power, eternity and blessing of the Sun-god. The Incas or the rulers of the Inca Empire considered gold a sacred element of nature. It was used as a bribe or an offering or luxury gifts by the Incas. The Inca Empire grew beyond limits and bounds within a short span of time. They conquered other areas not by force, but by offering them better lives and fortune – like gold. This elaborates how they used gold to lure neighboring areas to join their confederacy.

Agriculture was the primary industry of the Incas. The ordinary people were required to pay tax by working for the Empire. Each person had to contribute his man-hours to develop the kingdom, as a result of which they developed a robust and well-connected network of roads throughout their empire. The people of Inca Empire were very artistic and creative. They were adept in the arts of sculpture. Even today, the artifacts made by the Incas hundred years back, displayed in various museums, inspire the imaginations of millions of people across the globe. Statuettes made of gold, replicas of maize and other plants carved in gold and many others represent the aesthetic sense of the Incas, and their fascination of precious metals like silver, bronze, copper and gold.

There were enormous gold houses and palaces of the dead kings who were heaped up with gold. The successors of the dead kings did not even touch the gold left by their predecessors but amassed more gold and silver for themselves. Historians believe that the passion of the Incas for gold and other precious metals were purely an aesthetical issue, but this seems to be only a half-truth. If it was only meant for aesthetics then why did they bury their gold treasures in a secret place where no one could find them? It was either their long termed investment or some form of religious belief that made them hide their accumulated wealth in the form of gold in such a way that even after centuries, people wonder about the whereabouts of that hidden gold treasure.

There were strict conditions on moving gold or silver from the Cuzco, the center of the Empire. The emperors lead a splendid life, with their ostentatious display of gold and silver which was never bought or sold in the kingdom; it was only used for ornamentation and sculpture. The glittering gold of the Incas caught the greed of the Spanish conquistadors who brought a fatal end to the empire. Ironically, they could not succeed in finding the gold, for which they invaded and ruined the Incas.

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Maya Art

The Rich and Diverse Maya Art written by: MIvica The now lost Maya civilization is one of the biggest mysteries of the ancient world of South America. With an organized society that lasted over 1500 years, the Mayans made a big impression on the region of central America, where most of their civilization was located. However, their state disappeared under mysterious circumstances and their once mighty cities were left to the jungle. But, at the same time, their influence on the region’s culture is immeasurable. This is especially true when it comes to Maya art and how their approaches to different artistic disciplines allowed others that came after them to develop and prosper. Here are the most important ways how the Maya civilization expressed itself through art forms.

Sculpture and Stone working

Possibly the most widespread of all arts in the Maya culture was the process of sculpting using stone. This is evident from the majestic buildings they created, including numerous stunning palaces and pyramids. But, their knowledge of stone working was a lot more diverse. During the Classic Maya period, they produced intricate objects, including one known as Stelea, which represents decorated pillars that acted as a part of the altar setup. These stone pillars were detailedly carved and decorated with many details, showing a part of the history or religious tradition of the region.

Paintings

Maya art included plenty of pianists, which mostly came in the form of murals that were painted on building walls, from temples to ordinary houses. They often depicted things like mythology, daily life, religious ceremonies, and battles. Unfortunately, because of the humidity that persists in the jungle, most of these pianists were lost, but the Mayan approach to this art survived.

Ceramics and Pottery

Mayan were masters at producing decorated pottery. These objects played a practical role in the life of the citizens of any city-state, but they are also fabulous examples of the Maya art at its best. Here, the aptitude of the artisans can be seen in the decoration of the pottery, which was made without the use of a potter’s wheel, which makes them even more impressive.

Featherworking and Weaving

Like Aztecs and Incas, Maya civilization also placed a lot of emphasis on the way its members dressed. This is the reason why weaving became exceedingly developed in the same culture and it resulted in incredible garments, especially those worn by priests and the nobility. Here, featherworking was a specialty which allowed the craftsmen to make headdresses shaped entirely from the feathers of beautiful birds. This Maya art form was used in such a way that its precision and quality seem very impressive even today.

Music

Often overlooked part of the Maya art heritage, music was also developed in this civilization. Its works were mostly based on percussion instruments like rattles and drums, but also wind instruments as well. Later on, they also developed several forms of string instruments, but these were reserved for the ruling classes. Because of this, they were rarely heard among the common people.

Thanks to all of this art, it can be easily said that the Maya art is a field rich with many forms of artistic expression. No matter if they made huge stone buildings, beautiful garments or music, Maya civilization left a huge mark on the history of the South America, but also the history of the entire world.

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