History of chocolate
History of chocolate, so accustomed us presently,
began more than 3000 years ago.
About 1500 BC in lowlands of ashore Gulf of mexico in America appeared a civilization
of Olmec. Their culture has left us much little, but some linguists suppose that word "cacao"
for the first time has sounded as "kakawa" approximately 1000 BC, at moment of bloom to
Later Maya civilization comes on change of Olmecs. The ancestors of the Classic Maya entered
the lowlands of northern Guatemala around 1000 BC. Until then, they lived (and many Maya still do)
in the highlands of Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas. Here cacao must have been very
rare, if known at all.
However coming down from highlands, Maya have found and steels to cultivated wild cacao,
and as once in that period sooner the whole and appeared modern pronunciation of word "ърърю".
In 250 AD a development of Maya culture fell into its classical phase.
Approximately in 600 A.D (1400 years ago) the Mayans establishes the earliest known cacao
plantations (The right picture shows the cacao god of the Classic Maya). They were raised awesome
city of Maya, with their temple-pyramids and cruel rulers. Before its falling in 9 ages of
our era on its architecture of Maya cities exceeded architecture of ancient Greece and
Chocolate was a luxury amongst the Maya, not only in life but also in death. Even in
death the Maya nobles shouldn't miss chocolate. The picture shows a jar from a tomb at Rio Azul,
Guatemala. The vessel contained the chocolate drink when it was put down in the tomb.
It is not right that the Maya knew only one sole chocolate drink. In fact they had a well
developed sense for adding different flavorings to the chocolate. The linguists has identified
the phrases "witik cacao" and "kox cacao", but they haven't been able to find out what they
Another flavouring often used in chocolate is "piment". In many books this word has been
translated that as pepper, but thats incorrect. The true translation of the word is allspice.
Pepper wasn't known in the new world before the conquest by the Spains.
In the 9th century AD the Classic Maya culture began to crumble. Due to overpopulation
and environmental degradation the the "Classic Maya Collapse" occured. About 1000 AD the
Toltecs entered the stage. The power was teirs until som time in the middle of the 12th
century, where the Toltec culture began to collapse as a result of internal dissention
The Aztecs took over control of Mexico and the sorrounding areas around AD 1200. They kept
control until they were defeated by the spaniards in 1521. In most books about chocolate, it
is the Aztecs who are given the credit for domesticating the cacao tree and inventing the
chocolate drink. As we have allready seen, this is not true. The Aztecs have however, played
a great role in the developement of the use of cacao in "The New World".
Aztec legend states that cacao seeds have got to us from Paradise and that from
fruit cacao-trees come wisdom and power.
The picture shows the boundary of the Aztec empire 1519 - right before they were defeated
by the spaniards. The most imporataint area is Xoconochco (emphasized on the map) which the
Aztecs conquered some time between 1486 and 1502. This gave the Aztec empire access to the best
cacao plantations in the area.
Xoconochco is isolated from the rest of the Aztec empire, so the long-distance merchants
played a very important role in the transportation of cacao beans to the Aztec capital,
As you may allready know from other sources, the cacao beans served as money in the Aztec
empire. Therefore the amount off cacao beans held in the royal sotorehouses in the empire were
One load of cacao, which was the amount that was in a backpack of a trader,
counted 24000 beans. This is equal to three "xipuipillis".
A source tells us, that the palace of Nezahualcoyotl had to suply 4 xipuipillis - this
gives 32.000, cacao beans per day. In a year this amounts to 11.680.00 beans - just over
The amounts mentioned above is nothing however compared to the cacao warehouse of
Motecuhzoma, the famous Aztec emperor of many legends. This warehouse was said to contain
more than 40.000 loads of cacao beans, which would mean more than 960.000.000 beans! We have
no definitive confirmation of this, but there's no doubt the warehouse contained a huge amount
Maya called prepared drink from cocoa beans "xocolatl", Aztecs - "cacahuatl"; the Mexican
Indian word "chocolate" comes from a combination of the words "choco" ("foam") and "atl"
("water") (early chocolate was only consumed in beverage form).
Known that Christopher Columbus bring cacao-bobs to King Ferdinand from his fourth
expedition in the New world, but nobody did turn on them emphases in view of the big
amount other treasures, broughted by Columbus.
In following 100 years after Columbus chocolate has appeared and in the Europe.
Costing on 10-15 shillings for the pound, chocolate was considered by the drink for the
elite class. Sixteenth-century Spanish historian Oviedo noted: "None but the rich and noble
could afford to drink chocolatl as it was literally drinking money. Cocoa passed currency as
money among all nations; thus a rabbit in Nicaragua sold for 10 cocoa nibs, and 100 of these
seeds could buy a tolerably good slave."
Chocolate was used as medical remedy leading by leading healers of that time.
So, Christopher Ludwig Hoffmann recommended chocolate as remedy against many diseases,
referencing on experience of treatment of Cardinal Richelieu.
With development of industry chocolate become more it is available, in it adds varied
additives: milk, spices, different sweeteners, wine and even beer. If originally chocolate
was considered solely by male drink, hereinafter it become loved children's drink.
In 1674 appears rolls and cakes with chocolate . This date is a date of appearances
of eating chocolate, which possible was not only drink, as well as eat.