Coffee Seed Smugglers, Colonialism and Civilisation
They were all smuggled here via South America, Africa and the Middle East by European agents from the 17th to 19th century.
1. Thanks to the British smugglers who smuggled rubber and palm oil seeds from Brazil and Africa to Malaya. It's because of them that Malaysia become one of the major producers of rubber and palm oil.
World War II would probably end up differently without Malayan rubber and Nutella would not taste as good as it is without the high quality Malaysian palm oil.
2. Thanks to the Dutch smugglers too, who smuggled coffee seeds from Yemen in the 17th century. Initially they tried to plant it in their home country, the Netherlands, but it didn't work out. So they brought it to Java.
And as they say the rest is history. Indonesia is the fourth largest coffee producer in the world today and producing one of the world's best coffee, and my favourite, Aceh Gayo (pic).
The reality of history and civilisation are not linear, but messy (and cyclical). It's often shaped, not by those who followed the rules, but by those who flout and fought them; revolutionaries, freedom fighters.. and coffee seed smugglers.
Disclaimer: This is not an attempt at glorifying or romanticising colonialism, let alone justifying it. Colonialism can never be justified. The impacts and the consequences of colonialism are still being felt today in Asia and Africa.