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Cinnamon History



Cinnamon was one of the leading spices during the 16th century. The Portuguese explorer “Vasco da Gama”, who came in search of the spice trade, had a significant impact on the South Asian world. Before his arrival Arabian nations played a leading role in the Cinnamon trade. They used the overland route to take these spices to the Indian subcontinent, then to the Middle-East and finally to Europe.

The Portuguese were the first to trade in true Cinnamon from Sri Lanka, but they were soon taken over by the Dutch through the East-India Company. In the 17th century, the Dutch seized the world's largest Cinnamon supplier Ceylon, from the Portuguese. When the Dutch learned of a source of Cinnamon along the coast of India, they bribed and threatened the local king to destroy it all, thus preserving their monopoly on the prized spice. Systematic cultivation of Cinnamon in Sri Lanka was commenced by the Dutch, and by the time the British took over, there was an estimated 15,000-16,000 hectares under cultivation, mainly along the western coastal belt of the Island. Even after the World War II, Sri Lanka continues to be the leading producer of “True Cinnamon” in the world.


Ceylon cinnamon could only be planted and produced in Sri Lanka. Today, Cinnamon is known to have naturalized in Madagascar and Seychelles after many attempts, although does not give the same quality as found in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Cinnamon






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