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Plants and Progress: Rethinking the Islamic Agricultural Revolution

From: Journal of World History
Volume 20, Number 2, June 2009
pp. 187-206 | 10.1353/jwh.0.0058

Abstract

Abstract:

Since it was first proposed in the 1970s, the concept of an Islamic agricultural revolution, in which new plants and techniques spread rapidly from east to west and transformed agriculture in the Mediterranean basin, has gained widespread acceptance. Based on an investigation of a sample of plants, the present article argues that changes in farming attributed to the era of classical Islam were far more complex and distended than previously acknowledged. This casts doubt on the validity of the theory of a medieval "green revolution" and calls for a reexamination of its fundamental tenets.