Olive cultivation

The Romans introduced the olive to Spain. They planted olive trees all over the vast area north of the river Guadalquivir, nowadays the territory of the provinces of Jaén, Córdoba and Sevilla. After pressing, the oil was transported over the river to the sea and from there on to Rome. The Moors extended the cultivation of the olive to almost all of the peninsula. They called the oil az-zait, which means 'juice of the olive'. In Spanish, the olive tree is called olivo, after the Latin word, but the fruit is still called aceituna, after its Moorish name.

The cultivation of olives reached its peak in Spain in the early 16th century. But even today, the country is still the world's leading olive oil producer. Eleven percent of all cultivated land in Spain is used for olive cultivation. Andalucia produces one fifth of all olive oil in the world. Over 600,000 earn a living in this 'industry'.