Breadfruit

Breadfruit

William Dampier, the first Englishman to report on breadfruit, wrote from Guam in the late seventeenth century that the breadfruit was “as big as a Penny Loaf when Wheat is at 5 Shillings the Bushel.” He declared the ripe fruit to be “sweet and pleasant. The Natives of this Island use it for Bread.” The famous botanist and president of the Royal Society, Joseph Banks, led the venture to transplant breadfruit in the eighteenth century. The planters of the West Indies petitioned for the transfer of breadfruit trees to the islands of St. Vincent and Jamaica. They hoped to use the breadfruit as a food source for slaves working the plantations. This project was not a success. After the mutiny on the HMS Bounty (which was carrying breadfruit trees), breadfruit was successfully introduced by later expeditions in the Caribbean—but the slaves did not like eating it.

 
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