Hello and good day!
It is hard for a human being to think in terms of thousands or millions of years. Heck, it can be hard to think in terms of decades or generations.Even the 1990's seem pretty far in the past now.
It was a little over 500 years ago when Europeans came to realize that there were two additional continents in between the west coast of Europe and the east coast of Asia. 500 years is both a very short amount of time in the grand scheme of things and a very long period of time in the context of a single human's life span.
The oldest artifact discovered to date showing human consumption of cacao was found just about 20 miles north of where we operate.
It was a ceramic bowl with cacao residue mashed into the sides. The bowl was found on the banks of the Chinchipe River, which is the river that runs right in front of the canyon where we buy cacao.
Scientific dating estimated the bowl to be 5,000 years old. Think about that.
3,000 years before Jesus walked the earth, people in the northern Amazon jungle were mashing cacao into bowls. 1,000 years before the first Egyptian empire started to form, tribes in what are now northern Peru and southern Ecuador were consuming cacao native to the region.
The Inca empire reached its apex towards the end of the 15th century AD. At the height of their power, the Incas controlled most of the Andes mountain range.The Andes are 4,300 miles long north to south, 30% longer than the United States is wide.The Incas had their capital in Cusco, which is southern Peru.
As the empire expanded north through the mountains, the Incas also swept down west to the coast and east into the jungle to bring independent tribes under their dominion.In the northeastern foothills of the Andes, in the region that is now Jaen, there was a culture called the Jivaro culture. The "J" is pronounced as an "H".
The Jivaro were a proud and indominable people who the Incas were never able to conquer. The Jivaro had the custom of painting their faces and bodies red when going into battle. This earned them the nickname "Braca Moros".
Braca and moros are Quechua words meaning "red faces".Quechua was the language spoken by the Incas and this is how they referred to the Jivaro. Eventually, the Jivaro started calling themselves the Braca Moros, as a reminder to themselves and the Incas that they would never be conquered. To this day, the city of Jaen is known as the city of the Brave Braca Moros.
When the Spanish came to Peru in the 16th century, they brought along diseases and weapons and horses and this allowed them to thoroughly dominate the native tribes, including the Braca Moros.
The city of Jaen became an agricultural trading hub, and the natives were pushed out into the countryside where they became roaming hunter gatherers. Over time, the name Braca Moros morphed into the name Pakamoros, and there were Pakamoros living in the wild jungle around Jaen up until the 1960's.
In the 1960's, land reform in Peru led to a lot of vacant land being homesteaded.It was all previously owned by descendants of Spanish conquistadores and aristocrats.
Since it was all so remote, it was never developed. When the government took the land from the aristocrats and distributed it to the people, the land came under cultivation.
In particular, the canyon where we buy cacao was settled.When the first wave of farmers showed up, they found yellow cacao pods growing wild all over the place. Kind of like blackberries here in the pacific Northwest.
This is the cacao that we use in our chocolate.It has been there the whole time. Maybe for millions of years, but certainly for thousands of years, right in that little canyon. Pretty wild to think about.
And now it is in chocolate that you can buy with the click of a button.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!