And I can assure your Majesty that if plants and seeds from Spain were to be had here … the natives of these parts show such industry in tilling land and planting trees that in a very short time there would be great abundance. …
THE SCOPE of the known world doubled for the Europeans over the course of the sixteenth century, but it was only in the New World that the planet's cuisines as well as foods and peoples were first amalgamated on a vast scale. Had the European conquest occurred without a massive Native American die-off, its history might have been more like that of China or India, where it was only a matter of time before huge native majorities tossed out ruling foreign minorities to reclaim their lands and cultures. But in Mexico, Peru, and in most of the rest of the Americas, shrinking native populations left the door wide open to a flood of European and African and Asian peoples and cultures that came to stay. The ensuing blending of New and Old World foods was a giant stride in food globalization, even though it was sometimes hobbled by Latin American tariff rates that were among the highest in the world between 1820 and 1929.
During the Hapsburgs stay on Spain's throne (1516–1700), elites in the Americas, like those in Europe, ate the cosmopolitan foods of the Hapsburg Empire – “roasted kids and hams, quail pies, stuffed fowl and pigeons, blancmange and escabeche of chicken, partridge, and quail” were some of these foods that Cortéz and the new Viceroy of New Spain served at a feast in 1538.
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