Since its discovery, chocolate has served many purposes and values -- from medicinal to recreational.
It's taken several forms: beverage, powder and bar. It's been wrapped, baked and melted. There is no denying the diversity of chocolate's roles throughout history.
The timeline briefly explains the evolution of chocolate.
|1500 B.C. - 400 B.C.||Olmec Indians first to grow cocoa beans as a domestic crop|
|300 B.C. - 500 B.C.||Cocoa beans are restricted to Mayan elite, who use it to make an unsweetened cocoa drink.|
|600 A.D. - 1000 A.D.||Cocoa beans are used as currency.|
|1500s||Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes tries chocolate in Central America and brings it back to Spain.|
|1570s||Cocoa becomes more popular and is used as a medicine and aphrodisiac.|
|1600s||Antonio Carletti, and Italian traveler, brings chocolate from Spain to Italy.|
|1700s||Chocolate as a beverage gains popularity worldwide.|
|1820s||A Dutch chemist discovered a method for making powdered chocolate, which led to the creation of solid chocolate.|
|1840s||Joseph Fry is said to have made the first modern chocolate bar.|
|1860s||A company by the name of Cadbury begins marketing boxes of chocolate candies in England.|
|1900s||Milton Hershey creates a town called Hersheyville that he dedicates to the production of chocolate.|
|2008||Chocolate is more than a $4 billion industry in the U.S.|