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Taking its Place in American History

PoppyEven before Columbus discovered Arawak and Carib Indians using popcorn for decorations and food in the West Indies in 1492...

Even before Cortez found the Aztecs in Mexico adorned in popcorn necklaces and ceremonial headdresses in 1519...

Even before the French explorers in the Great Lakes region watched Iroquois popping corn in pottery crocks with heated sand...

Popcorn was growing in the Americas and providing pleasurable eating for the natives.

And, popcorn has remained a favorite for centuries.

Archaeologists have uncovered proof that popcorn had been around long before the arrival of the Europeans in the New World. Excavations in the Bat Cave of West Central New Mexico turned up popcorn ears nearly 5,600 years old, according to radio-carbon tests. An 80,000-year-old fossil pollen found 200 feet below Mexico City has been identified as corn pollen. In tombs on the east coast of Peru, researchers uncovered 1,000-year-old grains of popcorn so well preserved they still pop.

Other treasures have turned up to validate popcorn's place in the past _ pottery popcorn poppers dating back to pre-Inca cultures in Peru; an old (300 A.D.) funeral urn in Mexico depicting a Maize god with a popcorn decorated headdress. In fact, research has proven that the ancestors of most Native American tribes enjoyed popcorn even before the birth of Christ. And, today popcorn is still considered one of America's favorite snacking pleasures.

Read more about the history of popcorn.