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Chillies around the World page 2

map of the far east

Indonesia and China

While it is relatively easy to follow how chilli’s have spread from South America across the Atlantic Ocean, its the crossing of the Pacific that is more difficult to pin down.

By 1540, the Portuguese were trading in Indonesia and soon after chillies made their way into China.

It is unclear if the Portuguese were the first to bring the chilli to China.

Indians and Arabs had been trading with the Chinese long before the Europeans arrived in Asia. Furthermore in provinces such as Hunan and Szechuan (whose cuisines now use chillies most frequently) they were connected to the non-Chinese world by the Silk Road trade route rather than by coastal ports.



In 1549, the Portuguese reached Japan, but again it is unclear if they introduced the chilli pepper there, because the Japanese had already ventured to Mexico in Spanish-designed ships.



While Africa, India and Asia quickly appreciate chillies, Europe seemed somewhat reluctant to use it as anything more than a curiosity or an ornamental.

From Spain, the chilli moved to Antwerp, then to Italy in 1526, and on to England in 1548.

Curiously though the chilli did not reach Eastern Europe through trade with other Europeans.

Part 3 continues here