The olive is an integral part of the life of the people of the Mediterranean. From ancient times it has appeared in their myths, their traditional stories and in the history of their race. The olive is a timeless symbol of peace, prosperity, productivity and fertility. By just considering that the winners of the ancient Olympic Games were awarded a crown of olive leaves, you will understand how important the olive tree was to the people of this region. Mythology tells us that the olive was a gift from the goddess Athina to the residents of the city of Athens, who subsequently gave her name to their city in gratitude for this gift. The olive tree made its appearance in the Mediterranean region thousands of years ago and spread to nearby countries from there.
In the Peloponnese, the cultivation of the olive began around the 3rd century B.C. and the ancient Greeks used to smear olive oil on their bodies and hair as a matter of grooming and good health. Over the years the olive has been the symbol of peace, wisdom, glory, fertility, power and pureness. Very many Greek and Roman writings refer to the olive and its beneficial role. References to the olive are found as much in the Bible as in the Koran. It is estimated the cultivation of the olive commenced more than 7000 years ago. The Russians also helped to spread the olive throughout its extensive empire. After the 16th century, the Europeans brought the olive to the New World, and its cultivation began in California, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina. It is estimated that there are about 800 million olive trees in the world today, and the vast majority of these are found in Mediterranean countries.