Saturday, February 20, 2021

The history and origin of capsicum

Capsicum has its beginning since the beginning of civilizations. This genus is native to tropical and subtropical America in a wide region comprising Mexico and northern Central America, the Caribbean, the lowland Bolivia, the northern lowland Amazonia, and the mid-elevation southern Andes, where archaeological evidence suggests use of this spice crop since 6000 BC.

It is among the first plants domesticated in the Mesoamerican subcontinent. This plant has been used since ancient times as vegetable, natural colorant, and in traditional medicine.

Native Americans had grown chili plants between 5200 and 3400 BC. At this stage, several species have been domesticated to produce different cultivated types of pepper, comprising flavors from mild and sweet to hot and strongly pungent.

The pre-Columbian, indigenous Nahua (Aztec) Amerindian name for the plant was transcribed as chilli or chili, and the usual name in Spanish is chile, which results in the plurals of chillies, chilies, and chiles.

On his first voyage, Columbus encountered a plant whose fruit mimicked the pungency of the black pepper, Piper nigrum L. Columbus called it red pepper because the pods were red. In 1493, Peter Martyr (Anghiera 1493) wrote that Columbus brought home "pepper more pungent than that from the Caucasus."

In the sixteenth century, Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens were widely distributed from the New World to other continents via Spanish and Portuguese traders while the other species are little distributed outside South America.

It was Fuchs, who proposed for the first time in 1543, the botanical term Capsicum, which was adopted later in 1753 by Linneo.

The name would be the Neolithic derivation of Greek “Capsa,” which refers to the peculiar shape of the fruit. The crop was firstly introduced in Europe by Christopher Columbus during his travels after the discovery of America in the fifteenth century and later spread to Africa and Asia.
The history and origin of capsicum