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Chillies around the World page 3

map of the asia minor and eastern europe

Eastern Europe

There are a number of similar theories as to how the chilli mad its way to Eastern Europe;

The first is that Muslim merchants may have brought chilli from India through the Persian Gulf into Alexandria and then northwards into Eastern Europe.

Alternatively it could be that the Turks brought chillies from Asia and then transported them through the Persian Gulf (Asia Minor) across the Black Sea in to Hungary. From Hungary, the chilli then probably moved into Germany.

A third possibility is that the Portuguese exporting chillies from Hormuz, one of their colonies in the Persian Gulf, to Eastern Europe as a cheaper alternative to black pepper.

Interestingly, it was not until 1868 that Europeans learned that chillies were not originally from India.

North America

It is fairly surprising how long it took for the chilli to arrive in North America.

Obviously it had been grown in Mexico for thousands of years yet it was not until the slave trade was in full swing that the chilli appeared.

By 1600, the British and Dutch had broken the Spanish and Portuguese naval domination, opening up the spice trade. However there does not appear to have been any demand for chillies from the Americans as a result of this.

Instead, it was the use of chillies in the African cuisine that is the main reason behind their spread. Chillies had become such a integral part of the African diet and slave traders brought large amounts of them on their transatlantic voyages.

To maintain the African slaves’ eating habits once in North America the plantation owners had begun to grow chillies.

This is why it was not until the 17th century that the chillies had become a staple in North America.