Cacao beans that are used to make chocolate are a food that was once used as currency. Historians believe that cacao has been in existence for at least 2,000 years, and records show evidence of cacao beans being used for trading or purchasing of items by the Mayans and Aztecs in Latin America in the 1500s. Cacao beans were considered valuable because of the belief they were magical, and even played a role in sacred rituals. Cacao was also used as a form of currency in the 18th century in the United States during the Revolutionary War, with soldiers being given chocolate instead of wages at times.
More about chocolate:
- Until 1847 when the first chocolate bar was invented, chocolate was not consumed in a solid form. In the centuries prior, chocolate was typically only a drink made from ground cacao beans.
- Chocolate manufacturing makes an estimated $4 billion US Dollars (USD) each year in the US.
- Switzerland eats the most chocolate per person in the world, at an average of 22 pounds (10 kg) per person annually, according to 2012 figures.