The History of Cinnamon
It was well known by Arab traders that the true source of the purest Cinnamon was Sri Lanka or as it used to be known, Ceylon. From earliest times Cinnamon had been valued as a truly magnificent spice.
It was used by the ancient Egyptians over 2000 years before the birth of Christ. It was used in incense (Ketoret) burned in the Temples of Jerusalem. Cinnamon was considered a highly valued and precious gift for Kings, Queens and Noblemen throughout the ages. The ancient Greeks and Romans are recorded as prizing Cinnamon highly and using it in their temples and ceremonies.
Cinnamon was first connected to Sri Lanka in 1270 by Arabic scholars. With the many disruptions caused by warring factions in Egypt and Arabia, the overland route of the Cinnamon trade was severely disrupted. Venetian traders who purchased the spice in Alexandria, Egypt sponsored a number of expeditions in the 1400's and 1500's including Columbus (who got horribly lost) and the Portuguese who finally located the sources on the island of Sri Lanka in or about 1518. The Portuguese restructured the cultivation of the trees and monopolised its trade for over 100 years.
In 1683, the Dutch arrived and the 'Dutch East India Company' began to expand the cultivation and establish factories.
By 1767 the British had begun to undermine the Sri Lankan plantations by establishing large plantations elsewhere. One in Kerola in South India was considered the largest plantation in the world. And the British began to exploit the cheaper and more plentiful Cassia varieties.
Pure Cinnamon, true Cinnamon however remains the provence of Sri Lanka and the Ceylon Cinnamon producers continue to produce the most refined and highest quality Cinnamon production.