Bananas: history and origins

The banana is a very ancient fruit, whose origins are dated back to the most far-off times: the banana is native to the South-East Asia, in the jungles of Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines, where still today you can find a lot of wild varieties of bananas. There is evidence of the first bananas in New Guinea already in 5000 B.C., but they are mentioned for the first time in 600 B.C., in some Buddhist texts. Even Alexander the Great mentioned bananas in 327 b.C.: it is thought that bananas were introduced in the western part of the world thanks to his expeditions.
However, bananas were probably firstly cultivated by Chinese people, starting from 200 A.D. In 650, Islamic conquerors exported the banana up to Palestine. Arabs merchants later spread bananas in almost all Africa and from there bananas were spread in Central and Southern America by the explorers of 1500.

In Europe, the banana arrived only during Renaissance thanks to the exports to the native lands done by the great travellers that in those years discovered the Americas: in particular, there is evidence of the introduction of bananas in Europe in 1502, when Portuguese colonists began to cultivate the first plantations of bananas in the Carribeans and in Central America.

However, bananas began to be traded at an international level only after the end of the XIX century: before that moment, in fact, the lack of appropriate means of transports prevented the trade in countries that were not producers of bananas.
In 1899, the United Fruit Company, an American company, reached predominance in the sale of bananas, beginning to export them from Central America (Guatemala) and selling 75% of the twenty million bananas that were then traded in the United States and in Europe.

The history of bananas is therefore dated back to very ancient times and thanks to their great versatility in cuisine, this fresh fruit has increasingly rooted also in modern culture obtaining a lot of space on the fruit and vegetable market.
In the world fruit and vegetable sector, a lot of different varieties of bananas are produced, to such an extent that nowadays the banana is one of the most traded fruit on the international fruit and vegetable market. Nowadays there are a lot of companies that produce bananas, certified companies for the production of bananas, producers of bananas, companies that produce organic bananas, companies that deal with the trade of bananas and the packaging of bananas, retailers of bananas, importers of bananas, exporters of bananas and wholesalers of bananas: the presence of such a variety range has increased competition among the countries worldwide (Eu-members and not) for the production of bananas and the trade of bananas.

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