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Potatoes brought peace to Spain


POTATOES brought back to Europe by the Spanish reduced civil conflict for almost 200 years.

Researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that areas in which the vegetable grew had fewer peasant uprisings.

They based their study on battles in Europe, the Near East and North Africa which involved 32 or more deaths in the 500 years between 1400 and 1900.

Believed to have been carried back by the Spanish Conquistadors after conquering Peru in 1536, the starchy staple was quickly cultivated along the Biscay coast of northern Spain by the families of Basque sailors.

The English word potato derives from the Spanish patata, which the Spanish Royal Academy found to be a portmanteau of the words batata and papa.

It is thought the Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate the vegetable between around 8,000 BC and 5,000 BC.

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