Bananas originated in Indonesia and Malaysia, and their territory stretched to Northern Australia. They have since been planted all over the tropics and sub-tropics, where they thrive in the warm, moist climates. They also thrive in “rich, well-drained soil,” which is found in those tropical, humid climates.
The bananas we know are “domesticated” cultivated varieties. They do not grow “naturally” or wild, but do thrive in moist hot tropics around the globe.
The domestication of bananas took place in southeastern Asia. Many species of wild bananas still exist in New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, and possibly to 8000 BCE. This would make the New Guinean highlands the place where bananas were first domesticated. It is likely that other species of wild bananas were later also domesticated elsewhere in southeastern Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.
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