Cocoa history - Chocolate history
Myth and legend - Evolution with respect.
The cocoa plant, with its approximately 14,000 cataloged genetic variations, belonging to the three "families" (Forastero, Trinitario, Criollo) is now universally known and recognized.
It has always grown spontaneously in a climate area bounded roughly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, or 23 ° 26 ' 16 " North and South of the equator, around the world or, rather, in the three continents that can accommodate the ecosystem: Asia, Africa and Central/South America.
It is likely that cacao has always grown in each of these continents, but in recent centuries seeds and plants have traveled a lot.
They have been transported and replanted wherever the best conditions for crops and plantations exist.
Some varieties provide added strength and more substantial harvests, others have higher aromatic but yield less robust harvests, still others sipping their fruit.
A historical and legendary narrative of Cocoa, albeit one with very little testimony or documentation, marks the first emergence of cocoa in Central and South America.
The Olmec, Toltec, Maya, and Aztec civilizations had by then, highly evolved uses for cocoa, using the cocoa beans as currency, as an object of exchange, as a staple in food preparations and infused drinks.
Cacao was considered appropriate to be used in ceremonies, sacrifices, special events and also everyday life.
Still, its use was reserved for the more privileged social classes .
Politically incorrect version
It is believed that European settlers were the first to see its potential and to plunder the unwary natives, after having carefully massacred, a richness offered by the same land that had seen them rise (and then die).
From about 1500 A.D. then in the European Courts, merchants bold and ruthless mercenaries began to travel seeds and plants were not even tourists.
One can easily imagine the turning point in the lives of many developed nations have been able to give a few beasts greedy, petty and miserable but well-armed and poorly arranged ...
But this is tragic legend.
Politically correct version
It is believed that members of the enlightened European colonizers were the first to appreciate cocoa's enormous potential during their daring expeditions of will, courage, and the spirit of sacrifice.
How many and what obstacles were these fine, brave men forced to overcome?! Disregarding the danger and the unknown they made their way back and forth, to and from of civilizations unknown to them.
Soon the ability and the spirit of sharing made progress and commerce a possibility. And social evolution, inspired by the enormous desire of the European Courts and the Church to popularize and promote the forms of welfare, law and justice, already widely promulgated with firmness and determination in the Old Continent, in distant lands.
And this is History, Gentlemen!