Cacao trees were first discovered thousands of years ago in South American rain forests. The rain forests were the perfect climate for cacao trees to grow. The humid and tropical climate along with the high amounts of rainfall allowed the trees to flourish.
The Mayan civilization is one of the earliest known peoples to use cocoa. The Mayans created a beverage from the ground cocoa beans along with other spices, they drank it during betrothal and marriage ceremonies. They were also known for using cocoa as a currency.
The Spanish were the first European nation to discover cocoa beans. They began to farm cocoa and used it for trading, this allowed them to have a monopoly on chocolate in Europe.
By the mid 1600's cocoa became very popular in Europe and the Spanish no longer held a monopoly on the market. The wealthy people of France loved the chocolate and a Frenchman opened the first hot chocolate shop in London in the 1700's. By the late 1700's every country in Europe was producing chocolates from the cocoa bean.