The origins of the banana are convoluted and complex. Whilst there is archaeological evidence of banana cultivation in New Guinea dating as far back as 8000 BC, other banana domestication projects have been found in Southeast Asia in the jungles of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Generally, it is agreed that bananas originated in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific around 8000 to 5000 BC. Bananas are believed to have been the world’s first cultivated fruit.
From Southeast Asia, the fruit was brought west by Arab conquerors and then carried to the New World by explorers and missionaries. Although bananas started to be traded internationally by the end of fourteenth century, it wasn’t until 1834 that the fruit was mass produced. From the late 1880s mass production of bananas exploded across the globe.
The name banana originates from the Arabic word ‘banan’ which, rather logically, means finger. Its scientific name is musa sapientum, and means “fruit of the wise men”. Early written references to the banana were discovered in Sanskrit dating back to the year 500 BC. This can be seen as the year bananas first appeared in the history books!
In text image sourced from (http://asiafarming.com/banana-farming-information-guide)
Featured image sourced from (http://abgc.org.au/banana-industry-2/our-industry/history-of-bananas/)