The origin of the olive tree is lost in time. Olive leaf fossils have been found in Pliocene deposits at Mongardino in Italy. The existence of the olive tree therefore dates back to the twelfth millennium BC. Presto maintained that the olive tree in Italy dates back to three centuries before the fall of Troy (1200 BC). Another Roman annalist (Penestrello) defends the traditional view that the first olive tree was brought to Italy during the reign of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus the Elder (616 - 578 BC). possibly from Tripoli or Cabes (Tunisia).
The Romans continued the expansion of the olive tree to the countries bordering the Mediterranean, using it as a peaceful weapon in their conquests to settle the people. Olive growing was introduced into Spain during the maritime domination of the Phoenicians (1050 BC) but did not develop to a noteworthy extent until the arrival of Scipio (212 BC) and Roman rule (45 BC).
Now this generous tree is the source of income for over seven million families around the world As buhamel said, "the Mediterranean ends where the olive tree no longer grows", which can be capped by saying that "There where the sun permits. the olive tree takes root and gains ground".
The Olive fruit is a drupe. It has a bitter component (oleuropein), a low sugar content (2.6-6%) compared with other drupes (12-30%) depending on the time of year and variety. These characteristics make it a fruit that cannot be consumed directly from the tree and it has to undergo a series of process that differ considerably from region to region, and which also depend on variety. Some olive are, however, an exception to this rule because as they ripen they sweeten right on the tree, in most case this is due to fermentation.
A high sugar content in the flesh it’s an asset. The lowest acceptable level is 4%, especially in olives that undergo fermentation.
Oil content should be as low as possible because in many cases it impairs the keeping properties and consistency of the processed fruit. Only in certain type of black olives is a medium to high oil content desirable.