The History of Caviar (Infographic)


Caviar and champagne go together like a baguette and fancy cheese. But that wasn't always the case. Read on and discover how caviar made it onto the plates of the rich and famous. 

The History of Caviar

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1280: The Russian Orthodox church formally sanctioned caviar as food that could be consumed during religious fasts. 

1556: Ivan the Terrible conquers The Khanate of Astrakhan seizing the steppe north of the Caspian, demanding annual tribute paid in caviar delivered to Moscow. 

1591: Derived from the Persian word khavyar, the word caviar means "egg" and first appeared in English print in this year. 

1873: In the 19th century, Russia considered caviar a lavish item in the international market. The same year, Henry Schacht founded the American caviar business using the Delaware River for sturgeon. 

1910: Sturgeon become almost extinct due to overfishing, which prompts the halt of American production. This makes caviar a luxury item reserved for royalty. 

1998: In the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Socialist Republics & collapse of existing management control systems, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species begins regulating trade on sturgeon. 

2005: The United States Fish and Wildlife Service ban the import of Caspian Sea Beluga caviar in order to protect the endangered Beluga sturgeon. 

2006: CITES announces that they are unable to approve the caviar export quotas for 2006 wild fish stocks. 

Today, despite setbacks due to overfishing, caviar is still considered a delicacy and is often associated with luxury and wealth due to its high price in the West.