Baling cinnamon in Sri Lanka

Baling cinnamon in Sri Lanka
Baling cinnamon in Sri Lanka Late 1800s

Showing five workers tying cinnamon cane into cylindrical bundles was destined for export.

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Photograph by W L H Skeen and Co

Sri Lanka is the largest producer of Cinnamon in the world accounting for about 65 – 70 % of the global production, with Seychelles, Madagascar, India and other suppliers collectively contributing the balance.

Since the ancient time Sri Lanka “the Spice Island” is renowned for it’s spices. Cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, clove and nutmeg are the major spices which have an export significance to Sri Lanka.

Cinnamon is one of the oldest and most significant spice grown in Sri Lanka. Cinnamon was a popular spice in ancient Arab world and was used as cosmetic and pharmaceutical ingredient as well. Firstly the Arabs and then Europeans became the traders in cinnamon and this brought Sri Lanka in contact with other parts of the world. Cinnamon played a major role in world history, by motivating the Christopher Columbus to discover the new world and Vasco De Gama to South India and Sri Lanka.

The traditionally known cinnamon was the peeled cinnamon bark rolled in to the quill form, which facilitate storage and transportation. Cinnamon oil distillation would have probably commenced during the Dutch regime.

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