The banana originated from South East Asia. There is newly found archeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence in the Kuk swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea that shows banana cultivation going all the way back to at least 5000B.C. and maybe even 8000B.C. (1) The banana, as we know it today, is far different from the original plant from the wild, which contained plenty of large, hard seeds with very little tasty flesh. Bananas were not always yellow and sweet. It was not until Alexander the Great came into power that the banana started to rapidly spread. On a conquest in India in 327 B.C. Alexander came across the banana and liked it so much he brought it back to the Western World. (5) Bananas are in the genus Musa and many think that the genus got that name because of Antonius Musa. Musa was the personal doctor for the Roman emperor Octavian who was credited for promoting cultivation of Bananas in Africa in 63B.C. (3) In 200 AD, China was organizing banana plantations; it was an exotic fruit to them back then and not such a commodity like today. (5) By 650 AD the banana had spread throughout all of Africa and reached Madagascar. The banana spread because of Islamic Traders who were trading Slaves, ivory and bananas. (1) The banana was given its name from the Islamic traders as they noticed that the bananas growing in Africa and Asia were about the size of a man’s finger, and so they called them banan, which means fingertips in Arabic. (2) Again, these bananas were not the ones we were familiar with today in the U.S. as these bananas were small and about the size of an adult finger. They were also not yellow, but rather red or green and they were cooking bananas with a starchy taste. As slave trade expanded so did the trading of bananas, they reached the west coast of Africa in the country of Guinea. In 1402, Portuguese and Spanish sailors took bananas with them to the Canary Islands where they started the first banana...
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