History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Spain and Portugal (1603-2015)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-74-7

Publication Date: 2015 May 1

Number of References in Bibliography: 624

Earliest Reference: 1603

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Brief chronology of soy in Spain and Portugal:
1603 – In Japan, Vocabulary of the Language of Japan… (Vocabulario da Lingoa de Iapam…), a Japanese-Portuguese dictionary, is compiled and published by Portuguese Jesuit missionaries in Nagasaki. There are entries for:
      Abura ague [Abura-agé, deep-fried tofu pouches].
      Amazaqe [Amazake], a still-bubbling fermented liquid that has not yet completely become sake; or sweet sake.
      Azzuqi or azzuqui [azuki beans].
      Cabe [Kabe]. Same as tofu.
      Côji [Koji], a yeast[sic]used in Japan to make sake, or mixed with other things.
      Daizzu, Mame [Daizu, whole dry soybeans].
      Dengacu [Dengaku]. Dancing monks or skewered tofu spread with miso and broiled.
      Fanben [Hanben]. A type of food which is made by broiling tofu and simmering it with miso.
      Icco [Icchô]. A way of counting some types of food, such as tofu.
      Miso. A kind of mixture which is made with graos [grains, seeds, kernels], rice, and salt to season Japanese soups.
      Miso coxi [Misokoshi], a bamboo strainer used for straining miso. Misoya, a shop that sells miso. Misoyaqijiru [Miso-yaki-jiru], a type of soup(Xiru)made with tofu and finely sliced daikon radish.
      Misôzzu, which should properly be called Zosui, is a healing food made from vegetables, rice, miso, etc.
      Nattô, a type of food made by a brief boiling of grains/seeds[graos], which are then put into an incubation chamber(muro).
      Nattôjiru, a soup(Xiru) made from natto.
      Tamari, a very savory liquid taken from miso which can be used for seasoning foods [when cooking] or at table.
      Tôfu – Taufu. A type of food. It is made into the shape of a cheese by crushing soybeans.
      Tôfuya – Taufuya, a shop which makes and sells that cheese-like thing (tofu), which is made by grinding soybeans that have been soaked in water until they are soft.
      Vdondôfu [Udon-dôfu]. Tofu which is made like udon [Japanese-style wheat noodles] and cooked.
      Xôyu [Shoyu, or soy sauce], a liquid which corresponds to vinegar except that it is salty. It is used for seasoning foods. It is also called sutate.
      Yudôfu – Yudaufu: A food made from thinly sliced tofu, served next to a kakejiru-type sauce [which is then poured over the top].
      Note: This is a remarkably complete list of Japanese soyfoods at an extremely early date.
1633 – The Tokugawa shogunate (upset at Portuguese Christian missionaries intent on making converts and instigating revolts) adopts a policy of national isolation which continues for 221 years until 1854.
1639 – The Portuguese (mostly Jesuit missionaries) are expelled from Japan. This leaves only the Dutch among the Europeans still trading with Japan.
1665 – The Spanish friar Domingo Fernández Navarrete, makes the following entry in his journal about tofu in China: “16. Before I proceed to the next chapter, because I forgot it in the first book, I will here briefly mention the most usual, common and cheap sort of food all China abounds in, and which all men in that empire eat, from the emperor to the meanest Chinese, the emperor and great men as a dainty, the common sort as necessary sustenance. It is call'd teu fu [tofu], that is, paste of kidney-beans (Llamase Teu Fu, esto es, masa de frixoles {frijoles}). I did not see how they made it. They draw the milk out of the kidney-beans, and turning [curding] it, make great cakes of it like cheeses (quesos), as big as a large sieve, and five or six fingers thick. All the mass is as white as the very snow, to look to nothing can be finer. It is eaten raw, but generally boil'd and dressed with herbs, fish, and other things. Alone it is insipid, but very good so dressed and excellent fry'd in butter. They have it also dry'd and smok'd, and mix'd with caraway-seeds, which is best of all. It is incredible what vast quantities of it are consum'd in China, and very hard to conceive there should be such abundance of kidney-beans [sic, soy beans]… Teu fu is one of the most remarkable things in China, there are many will leave pullets for it. If I am not deceiv'd, the Chineses of Manila [Philippines] make it,…”
      Born in Spain, the friar served as a Dominican missionary in China (where he observed soyfoods) from 1658 to 1669.
      First published in Spanish in 1676, but not published in English until 1704 by Churchill & Churchill. First cited recently in English by T. Hymowitz.
1790 – Joao de Loureiro, a Portuguese Jesuit missionary and botanist, writes The Flora of Cochin China, Setting Forth the Plants in the Kingdom of Cochin China. Vol. 2 (Flora Cochinchinensis: Sistens Plantas in Regno Cochinchina Nascentes. Tomus II).
      In the section titled "Diadelphia. Decandria" (p. 441-42) we read: “Sp. 13. Dolichos Soja, Dau nanh. Hoam téu [huang-tou = yellow bean].” Writing in Latin, he gives a botanical description of the plant, describes its habitat as Cochin China and China, and cites as sources Thunberg, Kaempfer, and Rumphius. Then he adds: Uses: These seeds, having been boiled or lightly toasted, are quite acceptable to both the stomach and the palate. From them is made the famous Japanese soy sauce called Soia, which the Chinese and Cochin Chinese frequently use for cooking food and stimulating the appetite. There is also produced a white food resembling coagulated milk (lactis coagulati) and called Teu hu or Tau hu [tofu] by the Chinese; it is the most widely used food among them. Although it is rather bland by itself, if the appropriate condiments are added, it becomes a food which is neither unpleasant nor unhealthy.
      Loureiro published a 2nd edition (largely unchanged) in 1793.
1880 – The soybean is first cultivated in Portugal in the Botanical Garden at Coimbra (in west central Portugal) (Crespí 1935).
1905 Oct. – Li Yu-ying, in a paper in French on soymilk in China (Le lait végétal fabriqué en Chine) presented to the 2nd International Dairy Congress (2e Congrès International de Laiterie), states that soybeans have already been imported into Spain. Yet he gives no citation or evidence to support this claim.
1910? – In Spain, the first attempts at soybean cultivation were made by the Count of San Bernardo, who cultivated soybeans on his estates at Almillo (in Écija [a city in southwest Spain, 48 miles east-northeast of Seville]) at the beginning of this century (Bottari 1923, p. 2).
1911 – “The soybean and its uses” (O feijao soya e os seus usos), by E.H. Heron, is published (in Portuguese) in the Reparticao de Agricultura Mozambique, Boletim (Mozambique Department of Agriculture).
      This excellent bulletin is written by a man who shows considerable knowledge of the subject. It is written in both Portuguese and English, with parallel text in two columns on each page. This information is of considerable value at a time when cultivation of soya beans is spreading in Africa. However there is no indication that the soybean has ever been in or been cultivated in Mozambique.
1916-1918 – A soybean plant with yellow seeds was grown at Montilla (Cordoba) by Don Santiago F. Valderrama and harvested in 1916. Nutritional analysis of the seeds of this plant was conducted in Aug. 1916 at Granada by Mariano Moreno. Soy products, such as soymilk (leche de Soja) and various types of tofu (queso de Soja) were made from the seeds of these soybeans and exhibited in May 1918 at Cordoba (Valderrama 1920, p. 15).
1916 ca. – Soybean cultivation in southeastern Spain is started by Eduardo Noriega (an agronomical engineer, on his farm in Jerez, near Valencia) and by his friend Mr. Ortiz. They share their yellow and black varieties with other Valencian farmers (Soroa 1941).
1917 – The Spanish council in Shanghai, don Julio Palencia, sends the Spanish Department of State a study on the cultivation of soybeans, proposing that trials be made to acclimatize the valuable legume to their country (Soroa 1941).
1920Notes on the Cultivation of Soybeans: Enlarged with Experiments of the Years 1914 to 1919 (Notas Sobre el Cultivo de la Soja: Ampliadas con las Experiencias de los años 1914 al 1919), by Santiago F. Valderrama published in Cordoba, Spain (26 p.). The author grew and harvested soybeans at Montilla (Cordoba) in Spain in 1916.
      By 1919, soybean production in Spain surpassed 60,000 ha at the initiative of Col. Santiago F. Valderrama (Bottari 1923, p. 2).
1923 – Soybeans first start to be grown commercially in Portugal, in Ribatejo, for the purpose of providing feed for cattle (Rebelo Hespanha 1943).
1925-26 – In Lerida, Spain, yellow soybeans from Japan are cultivated by the doctor don Jose Abdal, an illustrious pharmacist. Planted at the end of April, the seeds matured by the end of August (Soroa 1941).
1931 ca – In Spain, soybean trials are started by D. Arsenio Rueda (an agronomic engineer), first at Motril and then at Malaga, on parcels of 0.5 ha. He obtained good yields (Soroa 1941).
1935 – The earliest document that mentions soybeans in Portugal is The Soybean and its Cultivation (La Soja y Su Cultivo) by Luis Crespí (32-page booklet).
1943The Soybean: Cultivation and Use of Its Products (A Soja: Cultura e Utilizacao dos Seus Produtos), by Jaime Rebelo Hespanha is published in Lisbon, Portugal (42 p.). It states that soybeans are now being cultivated in Portugal in Alentejo, in Baixo-Minho, and in parts of Estremadura.
1946 May – “Five thousand metric tons of soybean oil have been allocated for export to Spain during the April-June quarter, in return for an equal amount of olive oil for export from Spain to the U.S.” This is the earliest known export of soybean oil to Spain from the USA (Soybean Digest, May, p. 24).
1955 – This year, sales of soybean oil from the United States to Spain are 36 million pounds – not much (Soybean Digest, Jan. 1961, p. 16).
1956 – In southern Europe, extremely cold weather during the past two years has sharply cut olive production. Spain and Italy, both olive growing countries, are now importing soybean and cottonseed oil in large quantities. In both countries there is interest in importing whole soybeans to be crushed locally. Italy already has modern facilities adapted to crushing soybeans. Spain has only one such plant (Soybean Digest, Aug. p. 18, 33).
1956 Sept. – “A huge export market development program in European countries to be implemented with over one-half million dollars in P.L. 480 and soybean industry funds will be the first undertaking of the new Soybean Council of America.” The Council is an industry-wide organization formed in the summer of 1956 (Soybean Digest, Sept. p. 26-27).
1957 June – Soybean Council of America announces that it has opened an office in Madrid, Spain. Don Javier de Salas has been appointed director general of the Council for Spain. He will be in charge of the Madrid office (Soybean Digest, July, p. 6). From the outset, the Council emphasizes cooperation (not competition) with Spanish olive growers and processors, government officials, and consumers.
1961 Jan. – Javier de Salas, Spanish director for the Soybean Council of America, says sales of U.S. soybean oil to Spain should reach 500 million pounds in 1960-61, “as compared with 446 million pounds this past year. In 1955, before the Council's export program began, sales of U.S. soybean oil to Spain were only 36 million pounds” (Soybean Digest, Jan. p. 16).
1964 – Exisa (a solvent extraction plant in Seville) is the first in Spain to crush soybeans (Soybean Digest, May 1965, p. 86; Rivera 1964, p. 58-59). Spain, with its crushing industry starting to develop rapidly, begins to import U.S. soybeans (Howard 1989).
1965 – In Spain, five soybean crushing plants are now making soy oil and soybean meal: (1) Socieded Iberica de Molturacion, S.A., “Simsa.” Affiliate of Staley A.G. (Madrid 1); (2) Aceites y Proteinas S.A., “Aceprosa” (Portugalete, Vizcaya; on the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain); (3) Proteinas y Grasas S.A. (Reus, Tarragona); (4) Exportaciones e Importaciones, S.A., “Exisa” (Sevilla) (5) Industrias de la Soja S.A. Affiliate of Cargill, Inc. (Tarragona). (Soybean Digest Blue Book issue, March 1965, p. 108).
1968 – The Soybean Council of America closes its office in Spain (Pogeler 1968, p. 64, 66-67).
1969 – “By the end of fiscal 1969 U.S. exports of soybeans and soybean products to Spain were approaching $100 million – an impressive figure in those days” The soybean program, now the largest run in cooperation with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, had been a “spectacular success in Spain.” But conflicts were beginning to emerge.
      Increasingly Spain wanted to import soybeans to be crushed in Spain. U.S. farmers and their trade association, the American Soybean Association (ASA), were delighted to see soybean exports increasing. But U.S. soybean crushers were not so happy. They took the position that U.S. soybeans should be crushed in the USA and that only soybean oil and meal should be exported. Their trade association, the National Soybean Processors Association (NSPA), which had more money than ASA, worked to change U.S. export policy. In response, soybean farmers in various states formed new state soybean associations and check-off programs to raise money for ASA. The first state soybean association was organized in Minnesota on 6 Dec. 1962. By late 1964 there were five (Howard et al. 1989, p. 11, 37, 45, 63).
1969 – In Portugal, one soybean crushing plant is now making soy oil and soybean meal: IBEROL (Sociedade Iberica de Oleaginosas S.A.R.L.; Affiliate of A.E. Staley Mfg. Co., Decatur, Illinois), Alhandra, Lisbon (Soybean Digest Blue Book issue, March 1969, p. 107).
1980 – The earliest known commercial soyfood products in Portugal are tofu and soymilk made by Unimave Tofu, Rua Mouzinho da Silveira 25, 1200 Lisboa, Portugal.
1984 – The earliest known commercial soyfood products in Spain is Tofu (Proteina Vegetal de Soja) made by Zuiatzo, Calle Diputacion 5º Piso, Calle Correria 39 Bajo, 01001 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.


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