You’ll Never Look At Chocolate The Same Once You Find Out Its Brutal History

You probably already think chocolate is heavenly, but did you know that ancient Mesoamericans believed chocolate came directly from the Gods? A new TED-ed video details the ancient, bizarre and often times, brutal history of chocolate.

In ancient Mesoamerica, chocolate was real different. It was mixed with cornmeal and chili peppers into a bitter, frothy, liquid concoction.

They literally thought the cacao plant and chocolate were gifts from the Gods.

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Remember learning about the Aztec God “Quetzalcoatl” (aka Kukulkan to the Mayans) in junior high? According to Mesoamericans, you have him to thank for chocolate. And you have your history teacher to thank for getting “Quetzalcoatl” stuck in your head after studying his name for hours.

The drink was served at royal feasts and used in everything from rewarding soldiers to performing rituals.

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See that? Avocados used to only cost three cacao beans. Now with gentrification happening all over, you can’t buy anything for three cacaos anymore.

And here’s where the story starts getting f-ed up.

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Around the 1500’s, when Spain was sending ships out all over the Atlantic Ocean, they landed in Mesoamerica in Tenochtitlan, and as you would imagine, things got sticky. The king brought out fifty chocolate jugs and golden chalices and the Spaniards eyebrows went up like “Oh, hey, friend. That’s cool. I’m just going to run back home to Spain for a minute, I think I left the stove on. Heh.”

And then they came back with an army.

After bringing chocolate back to Europe, they obviously fell in love with it, and like with all goods at the time, they needed to exploit it.

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Once people started making chocolate fashionable, with its own silverware, they couldn’t make the stuff fast enough and thus began plantation and slavery-made chocolate.

The abuses created by the chocolate industry back then didn’t end – they just moved.

credit: TED-ed/ Youtube

As of 1990, cacao plantations have moved mostly to West Africa, where two-fifths of the world’s chocolate is made and where, as of 2015, slave labor and child labor affects some 2 million people.

Child and slave labor, just for chocolate? Ugh.

Watch the full TED-ed video below and learn about the not so sweet History of Chocolate.

credit: TED-ed/ Youtube

READ: The People In The Fields: Coachella Valley Farm Worker Documentary Project

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