Quinoa is an Andean plant native to the surroundings of Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia. Quinoa was cultivated and used by pre-Hispanic civilizations and replaced by cereals when the Spanish arrived, although it was a staple food for the population of the time.

Available historical evidence indicates that its domestication by the peoples of America could have occurred between 3000 and 5000 BC. There are archaeological discoveries of Quinoa in the tombs of Tarapacá, Calama and Arica, in Chile, and in different regions of Peru. When the Spanish arrived, Quinoa had an appropriate technological development and a wide diffusion on the Inca territory and outside it. The first Spanish to bring back quinoa crop was Pedro de Valdivia, who, observing the crops around Concepción, mentioned that, among other plants, Indians also plant quinoa for food.