Three hundred years ago today, a French boy was born at Lyon in France, the son of a merchant. History would ordain that Pierre Poivre would five decades later be instrumental in giving Seychelles a source of economic prosperity, a prosperity which would arrive more than a century after his death in 1786. In 1772 during the last year of his tenure as intendant of Ile de France and Bourbon, he organized an expedition to Seychelles with the specific purpose of creating a spice garden – by doing this, he gave us cinnamon – a spice which in the Bible, the Lord instructs Moses to include among other ingredients in order to make the oil of the anointment – and which became a pillar of our economy and a source of livelihood for hundreds of inhabitants during the 20th century.
The time that cinnamon was introduced to Seychelles, it was a rare and precious commodity. Nations of Europe had an insatiable need for it and here in Seychelles, a thousand miles from anywhere cinnamon became a natural scrubland before it was first exported in 1908 to provide the confectioneries and pharmaceutical manufactures with the aromatic ingredients of Cinnamomum Zeylanicum – thanks to Pierre Poivre
Today the legacy of Pierre Poivre is more than ever in full flourishment. The few saplings of cinnamon that he sent us in 1772 have become an integral part of our luxuriant vegetation, thus our tropical resplendence.
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