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Inca Land

August 14th, 2017 No comments

Like everybody else I’ve been reading Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind by Yuval Harari- and I was brought up short by one excellent point Harari makes when talking about the first agricultural revolution, the one when we stopped being hunter gatherers:

“Until the late modern era, more than 90% of humans were peasants who rose each morning to till the land by the sweat of their brows. The extra they produced fed the tiny minority of elites – kings, government officials, soldiers, priests, artists and thinkers – who fill the history books. History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.”

Perhaps it’s because I’m in rural Peru, where you can still see hand ploughs used and where the maize is about to be planted. The Sacred Valley, despite the fact that it is so close to both Cusco and Machu Picchu, remains a place made up of smallholdings:  campesinos left with tiny plots of less than a hectare since the rather more recent agricultural revolution experienced in Peru in the 1970s when the big Hacienda estates were broken up by a left-wing military government. Read more…