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Tea in Europe

Tea was unknown to Europeans until the 16th century. It was by Portugal, the first European country advanced to East India, the first reference to tea was introduced to Europe. In 1569, the missionary from Portugal mentioned about tea in his letter to the king of Portugal. He wrote -there is a bitter and red colored medicinal drink called "Cha", and they are drank by wealthy people to serve for their guests . The first Portugal came to China in 1516. They were the first European country to made a contact with Chinese. They also arrived to Tanegashima, Japan in 1543, and introduced a gun to Japanese people. Portugal was actively involved making contact with East Asian countries. In 1557, Portugal received a permission to residence in Macao. So, it is no surprising that Portugal was the first country to introduced (in written) tea to Europe. In 1662, Catherine of Braganza of Portugal married Charlesâ…ˇand she brought tea to the Royal house of England for the first time. In the 17th century, Portugal lost its power of trading. Instead, England and Holland has advanced to East India. Dutch East India Company started importing teas from China. Dutch East India Company was then actively involved the trade between China, Japan, and Java. In 1600, the ship from Holland, Liefde, arrived to the shore of Toyogo of Oita prefecture. Yar of 2000 was a remembrance year for both Japan and Holland. Japan celebrated the 400 years anniversary from the first contact with Holland, Holland festivals were hold in different part of Japan. Tea was shipped to Amsterdam by East India company and spread throughout Europe. Tea was first introduced to France in 1635, to Germany in 1650 and to England in 1650. Among all European countries, England was only the place tea took root in. One reason is because they invented adding sugar into the tea, and another one is tea was started to drank by Royal families and nobility first. People always have special longing to nobility. In France and Germany, tea never replaced their famous wine or beer. To Russia, tea was introduced by Asian people lived in Siberia. The fact that tea is called Chai in Russia tells the travel path tea went through to reach Russia. It was started from Guangdong to North of China, and to Mongolia to Siberia. Most of the other European countries use the word "Tea" which is close pronunciation to the word for tea in Fujian dialog. It is because Dutch East India Company shipped tea from the port of Fujian in China.

(Takahiro Moritake)