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Rice was a major crop in Sri Lanka as early as 1000 B. The crop may well have been introduced to Greece and the neighboring areas of the Mediterranean by returning members of Alexander the Great’s expedition to India around 344-324 B. From a center in Greece and Sicily, rice spread gradually throughout southern Europe and to a few locations in northern Africa.

As a result of Europe’s great Age of Exploration, new lands to the west became available for exploitation.

Rice cultivation was introduced to the New World by early European settlers.

The Portuguese carried it to Brazil and the Spanish introduced its cultivation to several locations in Central and South America.

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However, it never developed far from its original region.

Their labor then insured a flourishing rice industry.

By the 20th century, rice was produced in California’s Sacramento Valley.

Puddling the soil – turning it to mud to break it down and prevent too much water percolating away – and transplanting seedlings were likely refined in China.

Both operations became integral parts of rice farming and remain widely practiced to this day.

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