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c. 600 BCE Mayans drank a beverage containing chocolate. Recent research (2002) discovered traces of theobromine (found in chocolate) in three separate tea pots from a Mayan burial ground in Colha, Belize. 1, 2  
circa 500 BCE Traces of theobromine and caffeine consistent with cacao found on flat plate indicating usage as food.    [Details] [More Info]
1000-1125 CE Fragments of pottery with theobromine (presumed to be cacao residue) found in Chaco Canyon area of New Mexico, dated to 1000-1125 CE. 3   [More Info]
1502 Christopher Columbus encountered cacao beans in a Maya trading canoe. It is apparent to him that they are considered important and valuable because of the way they are handled by the traders. He brought samples to King Ferdinand among other treasures, but their use and value is not fully recognized.   
1519 Cortés meets Moctezuma II, the Aztec Emperor, and witnesses his consumption of "chocolatl", a cold, thick, bitter, beverage made from cocoa beans and a variety of herbs and spices.    [Details]
1525-1600 Europeans develops a taste for hot chocolate and Spain builds a lucrative buisiness cultivating cacao beans in many of its overseas colonies. It keeps the art of the process secret from the rest of Europe for nearly 100 years.   
1528 Cortés and his men return to Spain and bring chests of cacao beans. It soon becomes popular with the Spanish upper class who modernize the bitter drink by sweetening it with cane sugar and adding vanilla.   
1600-1650 The use of hot chocolate spreads throughout Europe and becomes the drink of choice in many courts.   
1657 The first of many famous English Chocolate Houses opens selling hot chocolate.   
1685 Treatise on coffee, tea and chocolate published by French druggist Dufour, titled "Traitez nouveaux & curieux du café du thé et du chocolate".    [Details]
c. 1700 The cocoa grinding process is mechanized with a steam engine and hand methods of chocolate manufacture give way to mass production. By 1730, the price of chocolate has dropped dramatically to the point where it is affordable by the average person.   
1765 The first American chocolate factory was built in New England.   
1826 Earliest known reference to chocolate candy in the UK in an advertisement for Fry's Chocolate Lozenges.    [Details]
1828 The cocoa press is invented, causing further drops in the prices of chocolate as well as improving the quality of hot chocolate by removing some of the cocoa butter that occurs naturally in the beans. 4  
1842 Solid 'eating chocolate' is introduced for the first time by John Cadbury. Its production was made possible through the development of fondant chocolate, a smoother variety that almost completely replaced the old coarse grained chocolate which formerly dominated the world market. 4  
1875 In Vevey, Switzerland, Daniel Peter and Henri Nestle revolutionize chocolate by adding milk and creating the first milk chocolate.   
1876 Milton Hershey opens his first candy shop in Pennsylvania. 5  
1894 Hershey Chocolate Company begins producing baking chocolate, cocoa and sweet chocolate coatings for caramels. 5  

  1.   Fountain H. "Chocolate's Deep Roots". New York Times online. Jul 30, 2002.
  2.   Hurst WJ, Tarka SM, Powis TG, et al. "Archaeology: Cacao usage by the earliest Maya civilization." Nature. 2002.
  3.   Crown PL, Hurst WJ. "Evidence of cacao use in the Prehispanic American Southwest". PNAS. Feb 2, 2009. Abstract
  4.   The Story of Chocolate,
  5.   Hershey Chronology