Olive oil was always present in the nooks and crannies of daily life of the Portuguese: in the lamp of the poor and in the chandelier of the rich, in the frugal table of the peasant, and in the solemn temples of old cults.
Mythical, biblical, romanesque and historical, "Olive oil always comes from above". Faced with the new truth of selective markets, it is no longer simply Olive Oil, to adopt the cradle of an origin and to assume the identity of a brand.
In Portugal, the culture of Olives is lost in the most remote times. According to the chronicles, the Visigoths should have inherited it from the Romans, and they had possibly found it in the Iberian Peninsula. On the other hand, the Arabs maintained the culture and made it prosper, being that the word Olive comes from the Arabic word az-zait, which means "olive juice".
In fact, the first manifestations of the importance of the olive culture in Portugal appear in the provinces where the later Christian reconquest took place. This is how the first forais that refer to the olive production refer to the Portuguese provinces of Extremadura and Alentejo.
Until the end of the twelfth century, in Portugal, the culture of the olive tree and the economic interest of its production are not mentioned. However, in the thirteenth century, olive oil already occupies an important place in our foreign trade, a position that will maintain later, and it can be said that this fat was a very abundant product in the Middle Ages.
Later, it is the religious orders that, with their role in the revitalization of agriculture, devote special attention to the manufacture of Olive Oil. The "sacred oil" will have a fundamental importance in the economics of the Convent of Santa Cruz de Coimbra, the Monastery of Alcobaça, the Order of the Freires of Christ, the Order of the Temple and the Order of the Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Resistant to drought, easy to adapt to rocky terrain, the olive tree has become a constant presence in Portuguese agriculture.
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