Fun Fact Friday: Potatoes

Natasha Clay

Although potatoes can be grown all around the world, these tubers in fact originated from the Andes of Peru.

Fun Fact Friday: Potatoes

(Photo: Living in Peru Archives)

The earliest remains found of this crop dates back to 2500 BC. In 1536 the potato became a stable and main source of energy for the Incas and, after the invasion, for the Spaniards as well. In the sixteenth century when the Spaniards returned to Europe, they took the crop back with them. Decades later, they successfully cultivated potatoes across Europe.

Arequipa: Researchers look to simulate Mars conditions and grow potatoes

In the 1840’s the potato contracted a plant disease that killed most of the crops in Europe. Eventually this disease made its way to Ireland causing the great potato famine from 1845 – 1852. Because potato was the main source of food for the Irish at that time, it caused mass starvation and contraction of disease to the people.

potato lady
(Photo: Marco Simola/ Living in Peru)

1621 is when the potato first came to the United States, but it wasn’t until 1719 when the first potato was planted. In 1838 potatoes were planted in Idaho, a western state often referred to as the Potato State. It wasn’t until the 1900’s that things really started to kick off for the potato, as annual production reached about 26,000 – 27,000 tonnes.

Thanks to Peru, potatoes are a delicious source of food that can be found all over the world now.

Fact: Do you know how many varieties of potatoes there are? There are 4,000 different types, most of them not known to the average person. How many different types of potato have you eaten?

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