Cocoa was discovered by the Spaniards at the beginning of XVI century, When Christopher Colombus first got to the Guanja Island off the coast of the modern day Honduras, the local inhabitants of the Island greeted them with cocoa beans as presents.
They then learned that the Indigenous used it to make what they used to call "xocolatl" a strong beverage that the natives took for it capacity to provide vitality, energy and strength. The Mayan used to call it Cacau from the old word "chacahuaa", modern day Mayan call it "chucua".
Cocoa was a general crop in Mexico during the Spanish conquest, they used to grow four types of cocoa in the hotest areas of the country, areas such as Tabasco, Michoacán, Colima, Chiapas and Campeche. The main varieties of Mexican cocoa were Quauhcahuatl, Xochicahuatl y Tlacacahuatl.
Xocoatl... From Native Beverage of the gods to Modern day Chocolate
During the years of the Spanish conquest the drink of the Aztec Indians "Xocoatl" was valued not only for its great taste, but also for its stimulation values.
The Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes wrote in one of his letters, describing to the then king Carl V, that with only one single cup of this Indigenous drink a soldier had the energy and the strength to walk all day long.
Then the Mexican aristocrat discovered a way to prepare the chocolate with water and sweetened with wild honey or maple juice, and to add flavor they would add some drops vanilla.
The poor people had a different way to prepare the chocolate, some added corn flour to make it more nutritious. First the beans were toasted and grinded, then water was added before boiling. Some of the preparations were not appreciated as much by the Spaniards
Cocoa was also used as currency in the Indigenous Mexican Empire and many surrounding countries, used not only to acquire things of lower values, but those of greater values such as slaves. And because of the perceived great values of the cocoa, the Spaniards didn't delay its introduction in the European markets, where it quickly became a popular drink among European.
At first Chocolate was the drink of royalties and aristocrats. The Emperor Carl V of Spain received great quantities from Hernan Cortes in 1528, which he first used for its medical powers.
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