Rice grows wild in Southeast Asia, but it is believed to have originated in Thailand in 4000 BC. From that point on, people learned to grow rice in China, India, Greece, North Africa, Egypt, South Africa, East Africa and other parts of the world.
Chinese farmers are most likely responsible for inventing the rice paddy. The rice paddy system helps save water while simultaneously killing weeds, and it is very efficient. When European settlers landed in America in 1600 A.D., they brought rice and planted it in the southeast part of the continent where the climate conditions were ideal. West African slaves also brought rice to North America, which contributed to farmers growing it in North and South Carolina in the 1700s.