Domesticated on Papua New Guinea around 8000 BC, bananas moved westward, appearing in African plantations in 650 AD before reaching Europe through Arab trading routes. In the 15th C., Portugese colonists began banana plantations on the Atlantic islands and Brazil, carrying their influence to the new world. By the 20th Century, the United Fruit Company’s (now Chiquita) commercial enterprise was based on bananas and its Latin American land holdings gave rise to the term ‘banana republic.’ Ripe bananas come in a myriad of sizes and colors, including yellow, green, red, and purple. They range in taste from sweet to starchy, with many of the lesser-known starchy varieties providing the main diet for tropical peoples. The tropics worldwide produce thousands of banana varieties, but North American supermarkets usually feature the Cavendish.