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History of Milk

Today, everybody knows that milk is healthy, however, rare is the person who could explain, to what extent it is so. Did you know that milk is the only drink in the world that contains such a great number of natural nutrients? Milk provides protein and a whole spectrum of other important elements, such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, vitamins A and B12, magnesium, carbohydrates and zinc. Milk is not just milk. It is also sour cream, curd, butter, kefir, yoghurt, ice-cream, etc. Can you imagine your day without these products? Hippocrates said: “Milk is perfection.” And it was for a good reason.

The history of milk is as old as the history of the mankind itself. As historians still argue about the precise data, certain sources say that man has consumed milk as early as 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Cows and sheep were domesticated in the regions currently known as Iran and Afghanistan approximately 9,000 years B.C. Around 7,000 years B.C. cattle were grazed in the territories of Turkey and Africa. The Ancient Greeks and Romans were the first to discover the production of cheese from milk.

The history of Latvia is also a history of milk. Dairy farming did not only provide our ancestors with food, it also was an important part of daily life. The oldest witness of dairy farming in Latvia dates back to the Bronze Age: 132 clay strainers were found on the Dole Island at the place of the Ķivutkalns settlement.

The first joint Latvian dairy farm was established in 1909 in Spāre of Cēsis district, and the milk machine in it was handspun similarly to how it is done in a household. Later this work was transferred to horses. Livestock farming supervisory associations played an important role in the development of dairy farming of that time. In 1907 the first four such farms were opened, in 1911 – already 80 of them were operating, and in 1914 – already 292!

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