History and expansion of vanilla in the world

History of discovery and origin of vanilla

The vanilla tree is native to tropical America(Mexico) but it is the discovery of the New World by the conquistadors that brought it to Europe.

The Mexicans have been using vanilla for a very long time and called it by the Aztec name of “Tlilxochill” or “Black Bean”.

Hernando Cortez
the Conqueror of Mexico was invited by
the Emperor Moctezuma
to taste in golden goblets chocolate flavored with vanilla.
. He was probably the first European to taste this aromatic.

In spite of the care that the Aztecs took to hide the secret of flavouring, the Conquistadores discovered it and, as early as 1510, vanilla was imported into Spain. vanilla was imported in Spain and then, from 1604 in France where it was commonly used in the preparation of coffee and chocolate.

Expansion of the
vanilla cultivation

At the beginning of the XIX century, plants were sent to Java, then to Reunion and Mauritius to try the cultivation of the precious vanilla, but in the absence of natural pollination by
an insect from Mexico
However, due to the lack of natural pollination, cultivation proved impossible on these islands.

The first artificial pollination of the Vanilla tree was realized in 1836 in the botanical garden of Liege by
Charles Morren
then in 1837 by the Frenchman Neumann, but it is in 1841 that a young slave Edmond Albius, imagined the process still used nowadays.

It was as early as 1848 the rise of the culture inReunion Island (then known as ” Bourbon Island “) in the Seychelles in 1866, in Madagascar in 1871, in the Comoros in 1891, in Tahiti in 1898, in Uganda and in Ceylon in 1912.

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