Wild peanuts were first grown by the Incas of ancient Peru, who offered them to the sun god as part of their religious ceremonials. Peanut cultivation was also active in Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, and the Caribbean. The Spanish explorers of the New World took peanuts back to Spain, and traders and explorers distributed them from Spain to Asia and Africa. Peanuts came to North America as a consequence of the slave trade, and were planted throughout the southern United States. Until 1900, peanuts were not extensively grown because growing and harvesting techniques were slow and difficult. The development of equipment for production, harvesting, and shelling, and of processing techniques, resulted in expansion of the peanut industry.
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