Native Americans in Georgia Coastal Plain grew pineapples, quinine and cacao
The sketchbook of Baron Georg Frederik von Reck, who lived at the Ebenezer Colony on the Savannah River, among other things, contains water colors, pen-and-ink sketches, ink washes and pencil sketches of the plants grown by Native Americans near him. The plants he sketched included what might be expected, such as corn and squash, but also included water melons, passion fruit, a Caribbean variety of sweet squash, pineapple and cacao.
It is already known, from a letter sent from Fort Caroline in 1564, that the Alecmani tribe, who lived along the Altamaha River in Georgia, grew chichona trees, from which quinine is made. Water melons are believed to be indigenous to the Middle East or Africa. They were probably introduced by Spanish friars. However, there is no mention in Spanish archives of missions growing cacao or pineapples. These are native to either Central America or South America.
Images of Von Reck’s art are currently featured on the People of One Fire website. The original book is owned by the Royal Library of Denmark.
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