Mass of several kgs of palm oil found in a vessel enclosed in a tomb at Abydos.
Middle 15th Century
Written records of palm oil being used as a local food source by European travellers to West Africa.
16th & 17th Century
Red palm oil became an important item in the developing trade network supplying caravans and ships of the Atlantic slave trade.
British industrial revolution created palm oil demand for candle-making and as a lubricant for machines. This was supplied by a modest export trade from West Africa.
Early 19th Century
European-run plantations were set up in Central Africa and Southeast Asia.
German investment in Cameroon brought about the discovery of the Tenera breed of palm oil. This high-yielding breed is what is used today in large-scale plantations.
Palm oil was introduced into Malaysia by a Scotsman named William Sime and an Englishman by the name of Henry Darby.