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History and Dispersal of Paprika in Hungary
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Paprika (Chili Pepper) originated in the southern part of Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Antilles. The European and Asian name of ’paprika’ can be traced back to the Greek-Latin ’peperi’-’piper’ expressions, meaning ’pepper’. The Hungarian word, ’paprika’ is a diminutive version of the Slav(ic) expression, ’papar’.

We can talk about two distinct ways of the Paprika’s dispersion in Europe. First, it was Christopher Columbus who is said to have brought with him a type of pepper, which was chillier than the Caucasian type. Paprika was a domesticated plant among the Native American people, thus the explorers named it ’Indian pepper’. Due to its outstanding adaptability, this tropical plant got acclimatized to the very different climate and conditions. From Spain it was introduced to Southern France and England, and it soon became Europe’s favorite decorative houseplant. In Hungary it was also used for decoration, first. In 1570, it was mentioned in Margit Széchy’s garden as ’red Turkish pepper’, and in 1579, the French botanist, Clusius introduced it into the garden of Boldizsár Batthyányi as well.