The term "rice" comes from the Tamil (an ancient language of India and Sri Lanka) word "Arisi." Archeological evidence of rice dates to 10,000 B.C. In fact, rice plays a role in the creation stories of several Asian cultures. Evidence from the Hunan province of China suggests that Early Neolithic groups may have cultivated rice. Cultivation of rice is believed to have begun almost simultaneously in many countries more than 6,500 years ago.
Whatever its beginnings, the domestication of rice is one of the most important developments in history. No other food has fed more people over a longer period of time.