Humanities Society - Cacao: An example for the movement of plants and food cultures across the early modern Pacific

Professor Angela Schottenhammer KU Leuven
Date 01/03/2022 at 18.00 - 01/03/2022 at 19.15 Where Zoom webinar

The Humanities Society organises regular talks spanning a wide range of topics. Every Tuesday during term time. Register to receive zoom details.


In the mid-sixteenth-century drinks containing cacao were still described as “better fit for pigs than for men”. But already in the later sixteenth century cacao and chocolate evolved as a popular ‘food drug’, soon conquering all echelons of society in and far beyond the American continent. Cacao trees (Theobroma cacao) were, for example, eventually transplanted in the Philippines. The cacao was supposed to serve as nutritious food and drink and as cash crop, to pay for all the imports from China, limiting, thus, the drain of silver from the Spanish world to China and making the Philippines economically more independent. My presentation will especially focus on uses of this originally American plant in the Philippines and China, but also seek to provide insights into specific features of the transpacific transhipment and related trans-Pacific knowledge transfers.

This is an online event. Please register to receive zoom details.

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