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Chocolate in MesoamericaA Cultural History of Cacao$
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Cameron McNeil

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813029535

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813029535.001.0001

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Cacaoc in Greater Nicoya

Cacaoc in Greater Nicoya

Ethnohistory and a Unique Tradition

(p.253) 12 Cacaoc in Greater Nicoya
Chocolate in Mesoamerica

Larry Steinbrenner

University Press of Florida

In the first few decades after the Spanish conquest, cacaos was one of the most valued commodities produced by the lower Central American colonies along the Greater Nicoya region. The Greater Nicoya region was distinguished from surrounding areas by the presence of migrant Mesoamerican populations from Central Mexico; the post-Conquest importance of cacao had a pre-Conquest antecedent. Traditionally, cacao has been presumed to be introduced to the Greater Nicoya region through one of the migrant Central Mexican groups. This argument was based on the assumed similarities in the manner of cacao usage and cultivation between Mesoamerica and Greater Nicoya and on the presumed monopoly of the Nicoya on the crop. Although a strong parallelism seemed to appear between the usage and cultivation of cacao between these regions, further readings showed that there were also significant differences in cacao-related practices between these regions. This chapter summarizes the major ethnohistoric accounts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica on their cacao use and production. The chapter also discusses the archaeological evidence of cacao use in Greater Nicoya and examines the problem of the existence of small evidence that pertains to cacao use and production in the Greater Nicoya.

Keywords:   Greater Nicoya region, Nicoya, cacao usage, cacao cultivation, ethnohistoric accounts, Nicaragua, Costa Rica

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