The first evidence about pepper cultivation in the province of Cáceres is dated back to the end of the 15th century. It was initiated by the Jerónimos friars of the Monastery of Guadalupe and they spread it to other Jerónimos communities, thus reaching the Yuste Monastery in La Vera.
This plant has been grown since ancient times by the American Indians encountered by Christopher Columbus on his first journey, and brought back to Spain on his third in 1493, thinking that it might be a possible substitute for the ground pepper imported from the Orient (García París, 1991). From the 16th century, it spread to other European countries, and then later to Asia and Africa.
The progressive increase in pepper grown for pimentón had particular consequences for the La Vera region. In one sense, because it reduced the impact from the chestnut epidemic (chestnut ink disease) and in another because it was the beginning of an industry based on pimentón that was essential for feeding the people of La Vera: the pork industry.
Peppers are plants whose botanical origin is South America, specifically the area of Peru and Bolivia, from where they spread across Central and South America. In fact pepper pods have been found in Peruvian graves dating from more than 2000 years ago.