A brief history of the apple

Since the beginning of time, apples have inspired folk tales, myths, poems and art. Explore the impressive history of the awesome apple.

1500 BC – A clay tablet found at Nuzi, an ancient Mesopotamian city that was located near the Tigris river in modern-day Iraq, makes reference to the sale of an apple orchard.

AD 77-79 – Pliny the Elder mentions at least 20 apple varieties in his famous work, ‘Naturalis Historia’.

1066 – Apple cider becomes a popular drink in England as the Norman conquest is celebrated.

1666 – When an apple falls on the young Isaac Newton’s head, an “a-ha” moment changes the course of history: the theory of gravity, and our understanding of gravitational force, is born.

1704 – The ‘Arabian Nights’, a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folk tales, is published in English. One of the stories features a magical apple that cures all diseases. Centuries later, many of us still believe that “an apple a day can keep the doctor away”.

1851 – By the mid-1800s, the apple has become an important part of British food and culture – so much so that Robert Hogg, secretary of the British Pomological Association, declares: “There’s no fruit, in temperate climes, so universally esteemed and so extensively cultivated, nor is there any which is so closely identified with the social habits of the human species, as the apple”.

1914 – Robert Frost, one of America’s most celebrated writers, writes his memorable poem, ‘After Apple-Picking’.

1964 – Belgian artist René Magritte completes his most famous work, ‘The Art of Man’, depicting a self-portrait in which the artist’s face is obscured by a floating apple. The fruit featured in many of his paintings, including ‘Ceci n’est pas une pomme’ (1964) and ‘The Habit’ (1960).

1996 – The first Cripps Red apple trees are planted in South Africa. This variety of apple is later sold under the JOYA® trademark, adhering to strict quality specifications.

2010 – The complete set of genes of the apple (the genome) is decoded by a consortium of Italian and American researchers.

2012 – The year in which Cripps Red apples are first sold under the JOYA® trademark. It’s an apple for the young and young at heart.

2013 – More than 80 million tons of apples are produced worldwide. One million tons are produced in South Africa.

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