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Modern Voices
Charles Joyner on the origins of rice culture
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Q: Help me understand the origins of the rice culture; how did it come to be a major export crop?
Charles Joyner

A: By the mid-18th century, rice had certainly overtaken Indigo as the major crop of the low country. Exactly how that came about is still disputed. There's the legend of the seed from Madagascar, which may or may not be literally true. But seed rice from Africa, perhaps from Madagascar, since it's an East African island, was a great rice producing area. But it was planted, seed rice was planted in South Carolina, was developed, was experimented with. And it proved to be a useful crop.
Charles Joyner
Professor of Southern History and Culture
Coastal Carolina University

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