Yankee ingenuity

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Yankee ingenuity is an American English reference to the self-reliance of early colonial settlers of New England, United States. It describes an attitude of make-do with materials on hand. It is inventive improvisation, adaptation and overcoming of dire straits when faced with a dearth of materials. Today it often refers more broadly to a typically American pragmatic approach to problem solving instead of traditional methods.

Yankee Ingenuity was often necessary for New England colonists. Unlike the rich and fertile soil of Virginia, New England had poor soil as well as a harsh winter and had to rely on improvisation for economic success. Agricultural techniques learned from the Wampanoags such as fertilizing fallow fields with rotting menhaden to enrich the soil helped the colonists to overcome such setbacks.

Similar phrases relating to other former colonial outposts exist in other parts of the world, such as Kiwi ingenuity, referring to a similar situation in New Zealand.

An example of Yankee ingenuity would be using a device, such as a pole saw, to cut brush, in the absence of a more appropriate tool.