The first written accounts of the avocado come from the Spanish Conquistadors. In 1518 Martin Fernandez de Enciso was the first to describe the avocado to the old world. Written accounts also exist from Hernando Cortez and Fernandez de Oviedo. Oviedo described the fruits he encountered in Columbia.
In the center of the fruit is a seed like a peeled chestnut. And between this and the rind is the part which is eaten, which is abundant, and is a paste similar to butter and of very good taste.
In 1550 Conquistador Pedro de Cieza de Leon was the first to publish “Aguacate” as the Spanish corruption to the unpronounceable āhuacatl.
In 1672 Royal physician W. Hughes wrote of the avocado during a visit to Jamaica,
One of the most rare and pleasant fruits of the island. It nourisheth and strengtheneth the body, corroborating the spirits and procuring lust exceedingly.
Sir Hans Sloane, the inventor of hot chocolate, (Thank you, Hans!) was the first person to use the English word “avocado” in his catalog of Jamaican plants published in 1696. The colonists also found new uses for the avocado, including using the red-pigment from crushed pits as ink. Documents written in the brownish-red avocado ink still exist today.
Tomorrow I will be posting about evolution of the avocado from its cultivation beginning over 8,000 years ago, to its synergistic relationship with extinct mammals.