Bamboo in China
The ancient Chinese were the fist civilization to use bamboo as a construction material. Nova online said that "Chinese have been at the forefront of bamboo technology for a millennium Their ancient dictionary, the Erh Ya, written 2,000 years ago, includes a reference to bamboo, and the Chinese character chu - which indicates good sense - is depicted as two leafed twigs of bamboo". Chinese were one of the first people to build suspension bridges to cross rivers, their construction method were to wove bamboo strips to make cables to support the weight of the bridge. The great Anlan bridge on the Min 'River is considered to be one of the greatest marvel of the ancient world, they use cables built with bamboo strips. Bamboo was also used to construct bridges in India and by the Incas in South America. Chinese were also the first people to introduce bamboo poles and panels to build their homes. China was the first to record the use of bamboo as a building material, this is why it is believed that bamboo originated from China.
Bamboo in South America
Bamboo forest in South America
China was the first to record the use of bamboo but South America has been used bamboo for thousands of years as well. China has the majority of species of bamboo but South America has its own native Bamboo species. South America's warm and moist environment has help bamboo flourished. There are about 90 unique species in South America according to the research of the book "Bamboo and its Architectural Uses" by Rachel Gardner and Nicholas Massman (2010). When the first Europeans explored South America they encountered massive bamboo canes so dense that they were nearly impenetrable. In Costa Rica about 1000 houses are build annually with materials coming from a 60 hectare of bamboo.
Bamboo in the United States
The majority of the more than 1,000 species of bamboo in the world are in countries in South America, Africa, and Southeastern Asia but the United States and North America has some native species of bamboo as well. When the settlers arrived in the country they found bamboo along the rivers and then identified as River Cane. They discovered the great benefits of bamboo in a short period of time. America's Native Bamboo History and Ecology article (2012) said that this discoveries came with the help of the indigenous people of the region who used the canebrakes for thousands of years. The locals use bamboo tender shoots as a high in calcium, protein and phosphorus source of food. The indigenous people use bamboo as a strong material to build diverse tools, weapons, basketry, traps, cages, and even as lodging. Jill Henderson said that "even today, the finest examples of hand woven basketry came from the Cherokee People, who used split river cane and natural dyes to make some of the most stunning works of functional art the world has ever known". Bamboo or river canes were found in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Florida, etc. depending on the species of bamboo.