Origin of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an evergreen tree and a spice obtained from the inner bark of Cinnamomum. Different parts of this tree have been used for a variety of purposes. Cinnamon spice was commonly known as an aromatic condiment, robust flavour and as traditional medicine. Cinnamomum is a fragrant tree which belongs to the laurel family, Lauraceae.
Cinnamon was a highly-priced spice among nations where studies have shown that Cinnamon had used throughout the ancient world, where Arab traders have brought it to Europe where it became more popular.
The spice trade was eventually introduced to Mediterranean countries with a Greek counting back to the 7th Century BC. During the Middle Ages, Europe traders were buying Cinnamon secretly to protect their monopoly as suppliers. Some studies state that Indonesian traders have brought Cinnamon to East Africa, and then it was taken to Egypt.
Cinnamon is an ancient spice which has also mentioned in the Bible, where Moses used it as an ingredient in ancient Rome for smoothing oil. Cinnamon spice was so precious back in the west during the 14th and 15th centuries, where it was primarily used to hinder the growth of certain bacteria and preserve meat.
“Cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.”Bible: Revelation 18:13 ESV / 13
History of Ceylon Cinnamon in Sri Lanka
Ceylon Cinnamon is a spice native to Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Burma. The best and the most crucial evidence about the Cinnamon trade and cultivation in Sri Lanka is the Upcountry Dutch Agreement, was commonly referred to as Hanguranketha Agreement, and it was signed in 1766 by King Sri Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe and a Dutch Governor.
By signing this agreement, King had to transfer the permission and authority to cut and peel Cinnamon in some regions of Sri Lanka where the Dutch government agreed to protect the kingdom from other foreign invaders such as English and Portuguese.
Cinnamon has cultivated in Sri Lanka. It has referred to as True Cinnamon. In Sri Lanka, true Cinnamon is grown only in particular areas such as south of capital Colombo and Negombo district. And some of the significant cities that cultivate Cinnamon are Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Rathnapura.
Ceylon Cinnamon or True Cinnamon has a perfect aroma when it is heated. At present, there are mainly two categories of Commercial Cinnamon, namely Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. Cassia Cinnamon is native and grown in Indonesia, and this category of Cinnamon has two varieties of flavours and has a strong smell.
The most expensive Cinnamon is Ceylon Cinnamon, in other words, True Cinnamon. Real Cinnamon is harvesting in Sri Lanka, and it has an exclusive flavour when compared to Cassia Cinnamon.
Ceylon Cinnamon or True Cinnamon is obtained from the dried bark of Cinnamomum Zeylancium. In Sri Lanka, under natural environmental conditions, this tree can grow to a height of 10m to 15m. Ceylon Cinnamon is produced in all types of soils of tropical conditions, and mainly under conditions varying from semi-dry to wet zone conditions. There are eight main species of Cinnamon in Sri Lanka, among all of those categories Cinnamomum Zeylancium is the one which is growing for commercial purposes.