Chinampa


Chinampa
Modern chinampas
The lake system within the Valley of Mexico at the time of the Spanish Conquest, showing distribution of the chinampas.

Chinampa is a method of ancient Mesoamerican agriculture which used small, rectangle-shaped areas of fertile arable land to grow crops on the shallow lake beds in the Valley of Mexico.

Contents

Description

Often referred to as "floating gardens," chinampas were artificial islands that usually measured roughly 30 × 2.5 m (98 × 8.2 ft), although they were sometimes longer. They were used by the ancient Aztec Indians. They were created by staking out the shallow lake bed and then fencing in the rectangle with wattle. The fenced-off area was then layered with mud, lake sediment, and decaying vegetation, eventually bringing it above the level of the lake. Often trees such as āhuexōtl (Salix bonplandiana)[1] and āhuēhuētl (Taxodium mucronatum)[2] were planted at the corners to secure the chinampa. Chinampas were separated by channels wide enough for a canoe to pass. These "islands" had very high crop yields with up to seven crops a year.[3]

History

The earliest fields that have been securely dated are from the Middle Postclassic period, 1150 – 1350 CE. Chinampas were used primarily in Lakes Xochimilco and Chalco near the springs that lined the south shore of those lakes. The Aztecs not only conducted military campaigns to obtain control over these regions but, according to some researchers, undertook significant state-led efforts to increase their extent.[4] Chinampa farms also ringed Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, which was considerably enlarged over time due to the use of chinampas. Smaller-scale farms have also been identified near the island-city of Xaltocan and on the east side of Lake Texcoco. With the destruction of the dams and sluice gates during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, many chinampas fields were abandoned, although remnants are still in use today in what remains of Lake Xochimilco.

The primary chinampas crops were maize, beans, squash, amaranth,[citation needed] tomatoes, and chili peppers, although chinampas were also used to grow flowers.[citation needed] It is estimated that food provided by chinampas made up one-half to two-thirds of the food consumed by the city of Tenochtitlán. Chinampas were fertilized using lake sediments as well as human excrement.

The word chinampa comes from the Nahuatl word chināmitl, meaning "square made of canes". Was also used to sell and have a trade item to become wealthy.

Notes

  1. ^ Jeanne X. Kasperson; Roger E. Kasperson; B. L. Turner II, ed (1995). "Chapter 7: The". Regions at risk: Comparisons of Threatened Environments. United Nations University Press. ISBN 9789280808483. http://nzdl.sadl.uleth.ca/cgi-bin/library?e=d-00000-00---off-0ccgi--00-0----0-10-0---0---0direct-10---4-------0-1l--11-en-50---20-about---00-0-1-00-0-0-11-1-0utfZz-8-00&a=d&cl=CL1.4&d=HASH87f04e891c1a79a0e99d43.10.3. 
  2. ^ "Taxodium mucronatum". The Gymnosperm Database. http://www.conifers.org/cu/tax/mucronatum.html. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  3. ^ Ancient Mexico and Central America
  4. ^ Since many of the chinampas regions show a uniformity of size and orientation, researchers such as Townsend assume they were constructed by "a planned program . . . over a short period of time". (p 167)

References

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chinampa — à Xochimilco Une Chinampa est une surface cultivable artificielle créée dans les zones lacustres de Mésoamérique comme Texcoco et Xochimilco. Cette technique d agriculture utilisée par les Nahuas et en particulier par les Aztèques, permettait de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • chinampa — ● chinampa nom masculin (mot indigène) Jardin flottant constitué par des radeaux recouverts de terreau, sur lequel les Aztèques faisaient pousser des arbustes et des fleurs …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • chinampa — sustantivo femenino 1. Uso/registro: coloquial. Origen: México. Terreno de poca extensión en las lagunas cercanas a la capital de México donde se cultivan flores y verduras …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • chinampa — (Del nahua chinamitl, seto o cerca de cañas). f. Terreno de corta extensión en las lagunas vecinas a la ciudad de México, donde se cultivan flores y verduras. Antiguamente estos huertos eran flotantes …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Chinampa — ► sustantivo masculino México AGRICULTURA Terreno flotante en el que se cultivan verduras y flores. * * * chinampa (del nahua «chinamitl», cobertizo de cañas; Méj.) f. Especie de *huerto pequeño en las lagunas próximas a la ciudad de Méjico, en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Chinampa — Boot in den Chinampas Chinampas (span. aztek., gebildet aus dem Nahuatl Wort chinamitl = Zaun aus Rohrschilf) sind Flöße aus Rohrschilf Flechtwerk. Sie wurden im alten Mexiko als schwimmende Anbauflächen an den Ufern von flachen Seen benutzt. In… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chinampa — Una chinampa (del náhuatl chinamitl, seto o cerca de cañas[1] ) es un método mesoamericano antiguo de agricultura que utiliza pequeñas áreas rectangulares de tierra fértil para cultivar flores y verduras en la superficie de lagos y lagunas… …   Wikipedia Español

  • chinampa — ▪ Mexican agriculture also called  floating garden   small, stationary, artificial island built on a freshwater lake for agricultural purposes. Chinampan was the ancient name for the southwestern region of the Valley of Mexico, the region of… …   Universalium

  • Chinampa — Chi|nam|pa [tʃ...] die , s (meist Plur.) <zu span. chinampa »Lagunengarten«, dies aus aztek. (Nahuatl) chinamitl »Schilf, geflochtene Matte« u. pa »oben«> am Rande eines Sees angelegte, als Anbaufläche dienende künstliche Insel in Mexiko …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • chinampa — noun A method of ancient agriculture, once used in Mexico, that used artificial islands of fertile land …   Wiktionary


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