On This Day 7 July
By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-07-07
We pay our respects to those 52 victims of the 7/7 attacks in 2005. In 1835 Buckley gave himself up (heard of Buckley's Chance?); in 1892 Katipunan established leading to the fall of the Spanish Empire in Asia and in 1996 Mandela stood down. Read more about the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550.
The actual year is not known, but we traditionally attribute the introduction of chocolate into Europe to the 7th of July 1550
The consumption of chocolate, which is made from the cacao plant, dates back to at least 1250BC in South America. The seeds from the cacao plant were used to brew various drinks. It was Hernan Cortes who brought the cacao beans back to Europe. He wrote "the divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food."
Chocolate was imported into Spain and was initially used as medicine and treated issues such as abdominal pain; mainly due to the bitterness. It quickly turned into the favourite drink as adding sugar or honey gave it a transformed taste. Originally attempts were made to replicate the traditional taste that Cortes and the other conquerors had of chocolate South America by adding various spices, however this didn't last very long.
The word chocolate is derived from the Aztec word xocolatl. Xococ has the meaning of bitter and atl the meaning of water or drink.
In 1657 London got its first chocolate houses where you could have not only a meal but also the beautifully delicious hot chocolate drink; but only if you were male as the venues were male-only. The chocolate houses were in fact quite rowdy and unruly places and on several occassions Royal Guards had to intervene. This wasn't because the cacao based drink was so potent, but rather due to the fact that a "little splash" of wine or other spirits were added to the drink to dilute the drink which was still unfamiliar to Londoners.
Watch the ancient art of chocolate making in Guatemala
Ted-Ed - the history of chocolate
Other events on this day
- 1550: chocolate introduced to Europe
- 1835: William Buckley (convict in Australia) gives himself up; you may have heard Australian's use the phrase "Buckley's Chance"
- 1892: establishment of the Katipunan which led to the fall of the Spanish Empire in Asia
- 1927: Christopher Stone became the first DJ in the UK presenting Record Round-up
- 1928: sliced bread sold for the first time in Missouri
- 1996: Nelson Mandela stepped down as President of South Africa
- 2005: 52 victim souls lost and more than 700 injured in the London attacks