By the 17th century, Dutch traders had already introduced Brazil nuts to the world market, less than a century after Spanish and Portuguese explorers first came across these bitter-tasting seeds.

According to history writer David A. Taylor, officer Juan A. Maldonado and his troops were on a reconnaissance mission close to the Peruvian-Bolivian river Madre de Dios, when Cayanpuxes Indians told him about the nuts, which he called almonds of the Andes. However, it wasn’t until the Amazon river opened to foreign commerce in the 19th century that Brazil nut production rose extensively—coinciding with Brazil nuts’ first official United States customs entry in 1873.

Today, Bolivia, the largest Brazil nut exporter, accounts for 50% of the total world’s harvest per the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), followed by Brazil and Peru.

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