The History of the Hot Pepper

Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter hot peppers. When the peppers were first introduced into Europe, they were grown in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries. The monks experimented with the hot peppers and discovered that they could be used as a substitute for black peppercorns. At the time black peppercorn was extremely costly and used as legal currency in some countries.

Hot peppers were used around the globe after Diego Alvarez Chanca, a doctor on Columbus’s second ship to the West Indies in 1493, brought the first hot peppers to Spain.  Diego Alvarez Chanca first wrote about the hot peppers medicinal effects in 1494.

From Mexico, hot peppers spread rapidly into the Phillipines and then to India, China, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.