History of cinnamon ages back to hundred and thousand years, cinnamon has been mentioned in ancient records from early as 2800 B.C. Cinnamon has been found referenced in Kwai in Chinese writings where it was used as a healing ingredient. Pliny, the author of the “Natural History” in the first century has also mention cinnamon in his writing. Evidence from the Old Testament suggested that cinnamon has used as an ingredient for anointing oil.
In the other parts of the world, Roman emperor Nero burned this precious spice on the funeral of his second wife. Ancient Egyptian used cinnamon to embalming mummy’s bodies because of its amusing odor and antibacterial qualities. This particular preservative ability of cinnamon was used to safeguard the meat in winter season in early times.
History of Cinnamon is not only about its medical and culinary uses. It is also about control and profit. The Arabic merchants bought cinnamon to Europe, where it was ascertained more popularity and was treasured. Arabic conveyed cinnamon through cumbrous land routes and itself was a reason for the limited and costly supply of cinnamon to Europe. This made cinnamon a symbol of luxury and status in the society. Supply of cinnamon to Europe was held a monopoly by the Arabic and retained its expensive price levels. So this laid paths to initiate explores to set out sail for the discovery of cinnamon. Famous voyager Christopher Columbus wrote to the queen Isabella of discovering the land of cinnamon in the new world but it wasn’t to be the spice as his sent sample failed to prove so. Gonzalo Pizarro, Spanish explorer set sail to Americas with optimism of finding “Cinnamon Country”.
In 15th Century Portuguese merchants made their way to Ceylon and they took over the monopoly held by Arabic merchants in Sri Lanka. Even before during the times of Sinhala king cinnamon was one of the main stream income of the state. Portuguese increased the production in their time by enslaving the Sinhalese. In 1638 Ceylon kingdom of Kandy allied with Dutch and overthrow the Portuguese. Falco, Dutch governor at that time initiated the systematic cultivation of cinnamon in Sri Lanka. Dutch succeeded holding the cinnamon monopoly till 1796 when British over take Sri Lanka. Since then cinnamon was no longer an expensive or uncommon spice, so British began cultivating other source of valuables like coffee, tea, etc. instead of cinnamon.