By Lea M. 

Chocolate. The classic sweet treat. It can be found in many different forms, brands, and flavors, but it will always be that beloved dessert that we all know and love. But, have you have you ever wondered how it came to be? How it evolved over the ages from just a simple bean, to a dessert that practically everyone knows about? Well now you will finally get the answers to those questions. 
The first cacao trees were found in Mexico, 1900BC by ancient civilizations called the Mesoamericans. They cultivated the cacao bean into a bitter drink nothing like present-day chocolate. The Olmecs, Aztecs, and the Mayan civilizations all believed that chocolate had mystical, magical properties, and then Mayans actually worshiped the god of cacao. They all agreed that only people of royal blood, warriors, or nobles should drink chocolate. Soon the Aztecs dominated the Mesoamericans and traded with the Mayans for cacao beans. Soon they were so valuable, cacao beans were actually currency. For example, you could get a turkey for 100 beans.  
Later on, in the 1500, a Spanish conquistador named Hernan Cortes visited Mexico in search for gold and silver, but returned with chocolate. The Spanish sweetened the drink, but just like the Mesoamericans, it was only for people of great importance. 
The Spanish want to keep chocolate for themselves, but when the daughter of King Philip III brought chocolate to France when she was wed to King Louis XIII, they all agreed there was no way to keep it secret anymore. The European powers loved and craved chocolate so much that they established cacao plantations so that they could have it more often. But when people started coming back with Mesoamerican diseases, they put African slaves there to work. 
In 1828, a Dutch chemist by the name of Coenraad Johannes van Houten created the coco press, which made dry chocolate cakes, and revolutionized the chocolate industry forever. Later on, in 1847, British company J.S. Fry & Sons made the first ever solid chocolate bar. Soon in 1879, Rodolphe Lindt created a conching machine, which gave chocolate bars a velvety texture and an amazing flavor. This made a picture-perfect chocolate like the ones we have today. 

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