Pigs! The Mobile Surplus

Although often not considered the most valuable of the Big 5 farm animals, the pig does have its advantages.

Pigs reproduce in greater numbers than the other Big 5 farm animals. They usually have between 9-15 piglets twice per year.

Pigs can weigh 500lbs. That is a lot of meat to eat and lard for cooking.

Pigs can move. They can run a 7 minute mile.

The pig was a vital factor in the success of the Europeans, particularly the first groups, in conquering North America and the Caribbean.

In 1539, Hernando De Soto, a conquistador from Spain, landed near Tampa, Florida. With him were the first pigs brought to mainland North America.

Pigs provided a surplus of meat to the conquistadors as they sought riches by traveling through Native American land. The pigs moved with the Spanish.

Later, the food surplus allowed the Spanish to build forts and gain control of the Native Americans' land.

Pigs caused environmental changes when introduced to the Americas.

Some of the pigs escaped and turned wild. In doing so, the pigs destroyed some of the native plants available for the hunter-gatherers making conquering easier for the Europeans. This was particularly a problem on many Caribbean islands where food was limited. This is a photo of the Bay of Pigs, Cuba.
Pigs were an important resource for the Europeans as they conquered the americas. It is believed DeSoto originally brought 13 pigs to America in 1539. there are now 71 million pigs being farmed in the United States.

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