We have to go back as far as year 3000 BC to find the first traces of cinnamon in Egypt, where it was used to embalm the dead.
The specific origins of cinnamon didn’t became apparent until the Middle Ages. Until then, mythical tales encompassed this remarkable spice. According to a lot of classical roman authors for instance, cinnamon grew around a lake protected by colossal birds. Whoever wanted to take it, would have to discover a way to mislead them.
In the Middle Ages, Arabs were no longer the only ones to market cinnamon in the Western world. Spice trade gained a massive political and economical role. One of the original goals of Columbus’ journey, that ended up with the discovery of America, was to enlarge the trade routes to the East.
Venice started to purchase cinnamon in the Arabs and became the sole trader in Europe. This monopoly lasted until 1505, when Portugal discovered Sri Lanka (Ceylon), a goldmine for cinnamon. They were conquered by the Dutch one hundred years later.
Nowadays Cinnamon is cultivated in many countries, such as India, Brazil and Vietnam to name a few, even though Sri Lanka still produces 90% of all cinnamon.
Regardless of all the political and historic changes, the ways in which cinnamon can be used remain the same: as a medicament, in the kitchen, and more recently to keep insects away.