The cocoa tree has been around since the dawn of man. The first recordings of the cocoa tree come from before 1000 B.C. The South American Indians were the first people to use the cocoa tree. But the Mayan and Aztec civilizations were the biggest users of chocolate. It would become the staple of Mayan civilization.
The Mayans were the first civilization to cultivate the cocoa tree. It was called Xocoatl by the Mayans.
It is common legend that the cocoa bean was a sacred gift from the Mayan and Aztec Gods. Cocoa beans were also the currency of the age in Mayan civilization.
Legend also says that Montezuma drank 50 goblets of chocolate drink a day. Cocoa is a laxative. Hence, the term “Montezuma’s Revenge”.
Although Columbus did find the cocoa bean first, when Hernando Cortez visited and conquered the Aztecs, he brought back chocolate to Europe. From there, the European cocoa trees slowly migrated east to oriental countries. Soon, the cocoa plant and chocolate drink were an international delicacy. Between the 1500s to the 1700s, the chocolate craze swept Europe. Chocolate become so popular, that Pope Pius V declared that drinking chocolate did not break the rules of a famine.
In 1570, chocolate was first started to be used as a medicine, and even an aphrodisiac. Chocolate houses became popular in England.
Cocoa butter was not really used as a massage butter until 1828 when a scientist named Conrad Von Houten invented the cocoa press. The cocoa press extracted a more pure chocolate.
The one country that had difficulty accepting chocolate was France. The French Court did not trust the foreign beverage and were going to ban import of the cocoa bean. The ban was prevented only the mandate of the Queen, Anne of Austria. Later, the French Court would change their opinion.
The first chocolate candies were produced during WWI. The soldiers needed energy quickly and chocolate provides immediate energy. Candy was designed so that soldiers could carry that energy boost with them. Today, chocolate is still one of the most popular consumables created. The United States Army even provides chocolate in rations. Cocoa butter is just as popular as chocolate.
Only recently has the medicinal properties of cocoa butter been revealed. Now, millions of people use cocoa to heal their skin or just relax.