The Great Historical Arch of Andean Biodiversity

Karl S. Zimmerer

in Changing Fortunes

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780520203037
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520917033 | DOI:
The Great Historical Arch of Andean Biodiversity

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This chapter addresses the evolution of diverse crops amid the historical transitions in farming systems and peasant livelihoods of the Andes. Beginning seven thousand years ago, early Andean cultivators seeded an unmatched assortment of diverse crops in their tropical mountains. In the Paucartambo Andes, the economic capacity of Quechua farmers to supply diverse crops for their ethical norms of a fit livelihood changed historically during ensuing eras of Inca (1400–1533), Spanish colonial (1533–1776), and late colonial and republican rule until 1969. Economic transitions after the Spanish conquest shifted the de facto conservation of diversity toward the better-off “haves” among the Quechua Indians, who benefited in concrete ways from the ecological and cultural advantages of their fit livelihoods.

Keywords: farming systems; peasant livelihoods; Paucartambo Andes; Spanish conquest; Quechua Indians

Chapter.  18033 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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