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Cinnamon: A History

Genus ‘cinnamomum’ was first discovered on our
paradise island by the Portuguese traders, in the
year 1518. This is not to suggest that the trade of
cinnamon did not exist until then – it did and was
widely popular amongst Arab traders who kept it
a secret for many years. It grew as a desirable
form of preservatives for meats and also for its
numerous medicinal uses. The Portuguese
therefore sought to make monetary use of it and
enslaved the island population; taking control of
the cinnamon trade for about a full century. The
most coveted historical evidence regarding the
trade can be found in the up-country Dutch
Agreement (Hanguranketha Agreement) signed
in the year 1766 by the then King Keethi
Sri Rajasinha and the Dutch Government.

The Kingdom of Kandy then allied with the Dutch
in the year 1638 to overthrow the Portuguese from
the island. However, the trade of cinnamon was
once again out of the islanders’ control and
remained monopolized for over 150 years. The
British took over thereon in the year 1784 and
sometime after, when they too were overthrown
and Ceylon gained independence, the trade
grew organically across the world. By the 1800s,
cinnamon was not too much of an expensive
and rare commodity, as traders of the island
had begun to cultivate it in other parts of the
world. Regardless, Ceylon Cinnamon still stands
as the most purest form of cinnamon that exists
in the world even today.

“Anyone who gives you a fresh cup of
Cinnamon tea off the kettleis a friend for life.”

Anyone who ever drank Cinnamon Tea

560, Galle Road, Colombo 03,
Sri Lanka 00300