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A History of Chocolate Not Commonly Known

Aug 17, 2007
From the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs of Mexico, the word chocolate is derived from the word xocolatl a combining of the words, xocolli which means acrid and atl which is water.

It has been indicated that the Spaniards Struck the word employing the Maya word chocol and replacing the Maya word for water which was haa with the Aztec word atl, consequently the word chocolate. It's more probable the term was made by the Aztecs who had used the familiar Mayan word for the "cocoa bean. The first accounts of chocolate to the known world were when Cortes reported the drink called xocolatl to the Spanish King.

An ancient Mayan pot found with chocolate residue shows the Mayans drank chocolate 2,600 years ago; this is the earliest accounting of the use of cacao. The goddess of fertility Xochiquetzal, was associated with chocolate by the Aztecs. The Aztecs drank a spicy, acid form of chocolate called xocatl that was often flavored with vanilla, chili pepper and annatto.

It was believed to combat fatigue which could be because of the theobromine content, which is like caffeine. Throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica chocolate was a luxury and the cacao beans were utilized as a form of money. Chocolate beverages were also blended with maize starch paste which thickened it, honey and different fruits.

Approximately 2/3s of the cocoa in the world comes from West Africa, and half of that's from the Ivory Coast. As with several food producers, cocoa farmers are curbed by the world market. Prices can vary for $945.00 to $5,672.00 a ton in just a couple of years.

Cocoa farmers, unlike those who invest in merchandising cocoa, can not desert their trees or reduce yield as readily as investors can dump their stocks. It has been stated that 90% of cocoa farms on the Ivory Coast have resorted to slave labor when prices drop in order to stay in business.

It has been alleged for some time that Many of the chocolate producing countries use slave labor to manufacture and produce their chocolate. These are allegedly those on the Ivory Coast and the slaves are young boys between 12 and 16 years of age from countries like Benin, Togo and Mali.

These young boys are commonly seen begging as they travel and are enticed by promises of compensated work, education and living accommodations, what they find instead is forced labor and sever abuse as they work on the cacao farms.

The worlds greatest producer and exporter of cocoa beans, the Ivory Coast and West Africa provide nearly half of the cocoa the world consumes. On the more distant plantations, these circumstances of slavery and victimization are hard to detect. A UNICEF report in 1998 evidenced that some of the Ivory Coast farmers did indeed use children who had been in bondage from adjacent countries that were poorer.
About the Author
Garland Choate (GR) is a retired Airline Captain who now publishes articles from the USVI. Find many great articles on chocolate at http://www.chocolate.WAHWarriors.com
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