Proposal preview

A long wave of globalization: maize diffusion in Mediterranean world (XVIth-XVIIIth century)

The proposed session will examine one of the most important and yet little studied aspects of the Colombian exchange: the introduction and diffusion of maize in mediterranean Europe. While the potato and its impact has been examined in quite some detail thanks to a great number of articles and monographs, the same cannot be said for maize despite the incontrovertible importance this plant took on as a foodstuff in many rural areas of mediterranean Europe.
The session will examine the following points from a comparative point of view:
1. Chronology and geography of the diffusion of maize in the mediterranean world
2. Ways in which the diffusion took place, examining the reasons for its success or, even, its lack of success
3. Links between greater (or lesser) success of maize and land ownership/types of contracts
4. Impact and consequences of the spread of maize on grain markets and on peasant diets
5. Possible link between the increased cultivation of maize and the diminishing cases of famine


  • Luca Mocarelli, Milano Bicocca University,, Italy
  • Allen J. Grieco, Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies),, USA

Session members

  • Aleksander Panjek, Primorska University,
  • Allen J. Grieco, Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies),
  • Alida Clemente, Foggia University,
  • Manuel Vaquero Pineiro, Perugia University,
  • Alessio Fornasin, Udine University,
  • Alvaro Aragon Ruano, Basque Country Univeristy,
  • Giulio Ongaro, Milano Bicocca University,
  • Ida Fazio, Palermo University,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Guido Alfani, Bocconi University Milan,