The olive tree ‘olea europaea’ is the most important tree in the history of the world. It has offered food and wealth to many civilizations through the years.
The olive tree requires more than six years before giving the first fruit crop and lasts for hundrends of years.
Stable societies came from agricultural nations with an abundand olive oil supply. A dependable olive oil production means that olive trees must be in a stable society.
The olive tree was the foundation of the greatest empires of Greece and Rome which developed into political forces and economic dynasties. When the olive orchards were destroyed and the olives and olive oil availability was declined, the empires were declined also.
In present times we should note that the destruction of the olive orchards during the war between Israel and Palestine (thousands of olive trees were destroyed by the Israelis), caused economic falling to many Palestinian farmers who depended on the production of their olive trees.
The olive tree is the symbol of peace and when the olive trees were destroyed near the city of Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus, that was a provocation to end peace.
The Greeks take great pride on the olive tree and claim that all olive trees in Greece started from the cuttings of the olive tree, that Goddess Athena planned in the Acropolis. Ancient Greek gold coins have the face of goddess Athena wearing a wreath (made out of olive branches) and holding a vessel (made out of clay) of olive oil.
Herodotus in his writings in 500 BC says that the Greeks were growing and exporting olives and olive oil. The harvesting of the olives was allowed only by virgins and the cultivation of the olive tree was allowed only by pure young men, because they were very sacred.
Documented planting of the olive tree may happened about 3500 BC, during the Minoan civilization of the island of Crete. In Mycenae olive fossils were discovered dated around 1600 BC and later.
The archiologist Stuart Manning from Cornell University, reports (April 2005) in the Live Magazine, that in the most destructive volcano erupted on the Greek Island of Thera between 1660 BC-1600 BC may contributed to the full destruction of the advanced Minoan civilization (Atlantis) on the Cretan Island and led to the formation of the desert of Sahara by vaporizing the forests.
The silvery green olive leaves are getting replaced every couple years with new growth. The flavor and taste of the olive oil are unique and vary. Some olive oils taste flowery, some fruity, some mild, strong, nutty or delicate. The color of olive oil is unique also.
Experts are claiming that the consumption of extra virgin olive oil provides smooth and subtle skin, prevents acne and dry skin, stops muscle aches and pains, lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, lowers significantly heart disease and different types of cancer. Also erases the effects of alcohol.
The olive trees that are grown from the olive seed go back to be wild trees and produce small tasteless olives.
The olive tree is very strong and tolerant to weather conditions. It is resistant to diseases more than any fruit tree and the demand for spraying is minimal to other crops.