The answer to this is quite varied, and there has been a load of study about the domestication of corn (maize) due to it’s cultural, and anthropological significance. There is a very wide time frame for the first domesticated species of maize, dating back to between 7,500 and 12,000 years ago, however what is clear is the area that domesticated maize originated. It was first domesticated by indigenous people of the Mesoamerica area, which ranged from central Mexico, south and east to Honduras and Nicaragua.
For a question that seemed so simple and non-involved, there is a ton of research and interesting information to be found. Check out the links below for more info.
This page says that people have been farming corn (rather than picking it wild) since 7,500 BC. Over the years, they learned to cultivate it so that they yielded bigger ears with more kernels. While the ears of corn were roasted or boiled as preparation, mostly the kernels were dried and crushed into cornmeal. I believe the cornmeal was then used for preparing things like tortillas.
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