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Mexico, central america, and the caribbean

In 1513 Nunez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and became the first known European to view the Pacific Ocean. Although by the end of the 15th century the Aztec Empire had passed its zenith, in 1519 there were still 60,000 households in Tenochtitlan and the population of the empire has been estimated to have been about 5,000,000 with 25,000,000 to 30,000,000 overall in Mexico. Both Mexico and Peru (as we shall see later) were very densely settled. The two American foods - maize and potatoes – were higher in caloric value than any old world crops except rice and this allowed a denser population per square mile than anyplace outside the East Asian rice-paddy region. Maize alone leads to niacin deficiency and the disease, pellagra, but middle American Indians soaked maize in a lime solution that broke down the molecules to make "hominy grits" and allowed human digestion to synthesize the needed vitamin. In some areas the native tomatoes were cultivated and eaten also and this further supplied the otherwise missing vitamins. It is of interest that in the New World, pellagra became known as "Columbus' sickness". But even before the Spaniards came, soil erosion in Mexico was already becoming a problem.

The Aztecs ate chiefly tortillas. Beans supplied some protein, the tomato (originally a weed in the maize fields) supplied vitamins A and C. They occasionally had wild game and raised small dogs for eating. This dog and the turkey were their only domesticated livestock. They also ate tadpoles, water flies' larvae, white worms, frogs, fresh water shrimp, newts, winged ants, agave worms (Maguey slug) and the iguana. We have mentioned in the last chapter that they were also somewhat prone to eat human flesh. Throughout the Caribbean people ate large, fat spiders and plump insects from decaying wood. Manioc was a Cuban poisonous plant, but properly prepared it was edible. The roots were peeled and grated and the juice squeezed out and subsequently boiled to make a harmless sauce, with the residual sediment making tapioca. The pulp was sieved and shaped into flat cakes, cooked slowly to make a soft, flexible bread called "cassava". When dried, it could be kept 2 or 3 years. The manioc root, itself, although protein deficient, was not eaten by locusts and could be left in the earth as long as 2 years, without deteriorating. (Ref. 211 )

NOTE: Insert Map 56. The Aztec, Maya and Inca Empires

Columbus and those who followed started a great exchange of foods. From Europe to the New World came wheat, chick-peas, sugarcane, some vegetables and cows. Back to Europe went maize (soon a staple in northern Spain, Portugal and Italy), potatoes (a source of vitamin C), chocolate, peanuts, vanilla, tomatoes, pineapples, lima beans, scarlet runner, red peppers, green peppers, tapioca and the turkey. (Ref. 211 ) In Mexico the climate favored the growth of many medicinal plants which were used by Aztec doctors. Among these were narcotics, medications for abortion, diarrhea, skin diseases and fever. It is interesting that the Spanish soldiers, after their arrival, of ten preferred the Aztec physicians to their European educated ones and in the latter part of the century Philip II sent one of his physicians, Francisco Hernandez, to Mexico to study native medicine and make a catalog of medicinal plants. (Ref. 125) We insert parenthetically the fact that the great majority of the Spanish troops were simple men, merely fleeing the poverty of Europe. No important Spanish family took any interest financially, militarily or intellectually in the conquest of the Americas. (Ref. 62 )

Questions & Answers

do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
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Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
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s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
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s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Damian Reply
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Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
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silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history (organized by region). OpenStax CNX. Nov 23, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10597/1.2
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