Peppers are native to the New World, originating in either central Bolivia or the mountains of southern Brazil approximately 5000 B.C. (the exact location is still under scholarly debate). From South America peppers migrated northward to Mesoamerica and the islands of the Caribbean. It is from the Caribbean islands that Columbus brought peppers (ají) back to Spain where they quickly dispersed throughout the East, adapting and changing to suit the tastes and culinary preferences of each new geographical locale. Prior to 1492, a word for chile pepper did not exist in any of the Old World languages.