Bloomberg: Pineapples Are at the Center of Latest China-Taiwan Dispute

Pineapple Mania

Converting exactly how much a whole pineapple cost back in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries to modern day dollars is almost impossible to do with any real accuracy. That said, the general ballpark estimates tend to ring in at around five to ten thousand dollars per pineapple, depending on such things as the quality of the fruit and season.  After the pineapple was first encountered by Europeans on the island of Guadeloupe during Christopher Columbus’ second trip to the Caribbean in November of 1493, efforts were quickly set in motion to find a way of reliably producing the fruit back in Europe. (The fruit itself is indigenous to South America and had been cultivated there for centuries prior to its “discovery” by Columbus.)

Despite sinking vast sums of money into the problem, European royalty, who positively adored the fruit for its natural sweetness (sugar and sugary items being in short supply), for centuries after its “discovery” the only real way to obtain a pineapple was to pay to have one directly imported, which was no cheap affair. Many transport ships of the age were too slow and conditions too hot aboard the vessels to keep whole pineapples from rotting during the journey. So to get a whole pineapple fruit safely from the plant to one’s table in Europe took the fastest ships and most favorable weather conditions.  As a result, virtually the only people who could afford to purchase a whole pineapple, let alone eat one while it was perfectly ripe, were royalty or the ridiculously wealthy.

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Bloomberg: Pineapples Are at the Center of Latest China-Taiwan Dispute.