Landmarks in the History of Pepper early dates very tentative

1550 B.C. Pepper referred to in Eber's papyrus

1500-600 B.C. Panini recorded the use of pepper in spicing wine. Charaka, the famous physician and Susruta, the ancient surgeon, mentioned the use of pepper in medicine, including in the treatment of eye and ear diseases 4th century B.C. Theophrastus described the two kinds of pepper—long pep per and black pepper 1st century A.D. Pliny reported that black pepper came from South India

(Malabar) and that the long pepper came from North India. A Chinese envoy visited the Malabar coast in search of pepper. Rome captured Egypt and the ancient pepper trade came under the control of Romans.

Mariner Hippalus discovered the velocity of wind systems (monsoons) of Indian ocean that made ocean journey to the Indian coast easier.

Pepper described as growing in abundance in south west Asia (?).

The Greek Physician, Dioscorides, mentioned the medicinal uses of pepper and long pepper.

Customs duty imposed on black pepper imported into Alexandria

Alaric the Gothic conquered Rome; demanded a ransom of 3000 pounds of pepper. Fall of Rome and Roman influence on spice trade. The Arabs again assumed control over the trade.

The identity of pepper as the fruit of a vine growing in the Malabar coast of India was established. 200 B.C.-700 A.D. Jeanine Auboyar, author of Daily Life in Ancient India— from 200 B.C. to 700 A.D., narrates the collection and marketing of pepper and long pepper in the Malabar and export to Alexandria. The trade was under the control of Arabs.

851 A.D. 10-11th century






1498 1500

1502 1508 1511





1621 1636

Chinese traveller Sulaiman visited Kerala coast—recorded the black pepper cultivation and trade with China. Raja Raja Chola and his son Rajendra, the powerful South Indian Kings, extended their empire to Malay archipelago and to Java-Bali Islands of present day Indonesia. This was probably a route through which pepper plants reached Indonesia and Malaysia.

Reign of Henry II in England and the formation of pepperers guild.

China's hegemony on pepper trade-large quantities were imported from Malabar coast and Java. Marcopolo described in detail the pepper growing in Java. The voyages of Zheng He from China to the Malabar coast, touching many ports in between. Strong trade relationships between the Malabar coast and China. This was probably another route through which pepper plants might have reached the near and south east Asian countries. Nicolo Contai described the pepper trade in Quilon (Kollam) and Calicut (Kozhikode) of Malabar coast and pepper cultivation in Sumatra.

Vasco de Gama discovered the sea route to India and landed near Calicut on the Malabar coast on May 20, 1498. Pedro Alvares Cabral landed in Calicut accompanied by many ships and men. He established the supremacy of Portugal over spices trade in the Malabar coast. Vasco de Gama's second voyage to India. He strengthened the Portuguese settlements.

Alfonso de Albuquerque was appointed the viceroy of Malabar coast by the Portuguese king. Albuquerque sailed to Malacca and captured the land and the spice trade from there. Portuguese was in full control of black pepper trade.

Garcia da Orta described black pepper production in Java. Decline of Portuguese power in the Malabar coast—supremacy of Dutch for a short period. Establishment of the British East India Company for trading in spices. British landed in India (Aug 24, 1600 at Surat). The East India Company's ships reached Sumatra and started trading in pepper. The establishment of the United East India company by Dutch merchants. They reached Johore (Malaysia), Siam, Amboyna (Spice Island) establishing supremacy over Portuguese, but defeated in Moluccas. Dutch attacked Benda Islands and subjugated the natives. British started export of pepper from the Malabar coast.

1641 Dutch conquered Malacca and the entire pepper trade from

Far East came under their control. 1664 The Portuguese were driven out from their main settlements in Cochin and Cannanore by the Dutch. This was the end of Portuguese chapter in the pepper trade. The Dutch East India company became the master of pepper trade. Jean Baptiste Colbert organized the French India company. 1700-1800 Dutch had to suffer defeat from the hands of the king of

Travancore, and their supremacy gradually vanished. The rise of British presence in Malabar. They entered into contract with local rulers for monopoly procurement of pepper and other spices. The French who came to India for spices trade could establish a small pocket-Mahe-on the Malabar coast, otherwise their influence soon waned off. By 1800 the British became the supreme power in pepper trade. The rest is history. 1795-1800 America entered the pepper trade. Their ship, Rajah, trav elled to Sumatra for fetching pepper. Subsequently America became a major power in pepper trading. 1933 Pepper introduced into Brazil.

1938 Pepper introduced into Malagasy Republic

1954 Pepper introduced into Tropical African regions 1952-53 First research station for pepper established in India (at Panniyur)

1955 Pepper research began in Sarawak (Malaysia) 1966 First hybrid pepper (Panniyur 1) released.

1971 Beginning of the All India coordinated Research Project on spices with mandate of research on pepper.

1972 Establishment of International Pepper Community with headquarters at Jakarta.

1986 Establishment of National Research Centre for Spices

(NRCS) with a major mandate on pepper research. 1996 Upgradation of NRCS into Indian Institute of Spices Re search (IISR)

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