History of Chocolate

Graham Otten

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The history of the cocoa tree dates back 5,000 years to the Mayans and many other ancient civilizations in the Americas. Long before the beans were used to create chocolate, they were used in alcoholic beverages and to perform spiritual rituals. Cocoa trees are very hard to grow and can only live in areas about 20o north of the equator. The first European knowledge of chocolate is dated to the emperor of the Aztecs, who was seen drinking chocolate in a golden goblet during the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

Chocolate was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards and began to spread and grow in popularity during the mid-17th century. It was quickly spread by the Europeans to Asia and all other parts of the world. Though cocoa trees were grown for quite a while in Central America and the Philippines, they are now almost all grown in West Africa.

Chocolate has a complex history lasting hundreds of years that has brought it to the treat that we love today.  Maybe after seeing this article, readers will have a different, more appreciative view of this candy that is so often taken for granted.

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