Jean Andrews


Since December 1984, when Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums was published, interest in growing and eating capsicums has increased dramatically. Prior to that publication, little attention had been given to the historical aspects of the genus Capsicum, which is comprised of all the green and red peppers (pimientos) in the world, but does not include its namesake black pepper (pimienta) or Piper nigrum, a native of India, and a much wanted item in the pre-Columbian spice trade. Five-hundred years ago, while Christopher Columbus was searching for a shorter route to India and the East Indies in order to break the Muslim monopoly on the highly desired spices of the orient, he came upon the islands he called Indies, a people he considered to be Indians, and a burning spice he called pepper— the capsicums. Historians and Capiscum fans alike have had to deal with his misnomers ever since.