150th Anniversary Trivia

Sheep production is man's oldest organized industry with wool being the first commodity of sufficient value to warrant international trade. In the 1400s, Queen Isabella of Spain used money derived from the wool industry to finance voyages by Christopher Columbus and other conquistadors.

In 1519, Cortez began his exploration of Mexico and the Western United States taking with him sheep that were offspring of Christopher Columbus' flock.

Sheep were brought into Virginia in 1609. Dutch Textel sheep were brought to New York from Holland in 1625. England tried to discourage the wool industry in the American colonies, but by the 1660s there were so many sheep in the colonies that the General Court of Massachusetts passed a law requiring youth to learn to spin and weave. 


A minority of sheep breeds have been selectively bred for milk production, and thus produce a higher volume than most other sheep. They sheep breeds include the Lacaune, the East Friesian, and Awassi 

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