13.8 million years ago
Chile peppers are believed to have developed spiciness.
10,000 years ago
Date believed by some to be earliest evidence of chile pepper domestication.
6,100-6,000 years ago
Time period that most scholars prefer to recognize
as the earliest verifiable period for chile pepper domestication with support for Capsicum annuum domestication in Mexico or northern Central America.
Christopher Columbus is believed to be one of the first Europeans introduced to chile "peppers" upon his voyage to the New World. Upon encountering the aji chile in the Caribbean, he labeled them as peppers due to their spicy quality being similar to the black peppercorns he sought. At this point, it's most commonly believed that chile peppers only exist within the New World.
Vasco da Gama lands in Calicut, India and is the first to establish an ocean route from Europe and South America around the Cape of Good Hope to India, opening the way for trade and likely the entry of chile peppers into Southeast Asia. Within 30 years of his arrival, at least three varieties of chiles were being grown and traded
along the Malabar coast.
The Scoville scale
is developed by the pharmacist Wilbur Scoville as a unit of measurement for the level of pungency (heat) in a chile pepper.
New Mexico State University's first horticulturist, Fabian Garcia
, released the New Mexico No.9 pepper, a milder pepper with improved consistency designed to increase consumption. Some credit this development as helping to lay the foundation for the canned and dried chile industry in the US
Hungarian scientist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, successfully isolates crystalline vitamin C
from paprika peppers. He later wins the Nobel Prize in 1937 for his discoveries related to biological combustion processes, especially in relation to the role of vitamin C.
First annual Hatch Chile Festival held in Hatch, NM.
David Tran, Vietnamese refugee and founder of Huy Fong Food, begins production and distribution of his Sriracha sauce
in the US. It's believed to be inspired by similar sauces commercialized in the 1930s in either Si Racha (Sri Racha) or Bangkok, Thailand, depending on the historical account
150-200 identified varieties of chile peppers are estimated to exist.
Dr. Paul Bosland founds the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University.
The Red Savina with 570,000 SHU is recognized as the world's hottest pepper by the Guinness World Records.
First annual Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival held.
Bhut jolokia, or more commonly called the Ghost Pepper, from the Assam region of India, is recognized as the World's Hottest Pepper, clocking in at over 1,000,000 Scoville Units.
The Carolina Reaper is named by Guinness World Records as the world's hottest pepper.
Creator of the Carolina Reaper, Ed Currie, announces another creation of his, called Pepper X. He claims it's twice as hot as the Carolina Reaper, but this has yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records.