1.700 A.D. INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

IMPROVEMENT IN QUALITY

Another important factor arising from the industrial revolution was the start of the mechanization of small presses. With this, many farmers found it easier to fulfil their intentions to plant olive trees, and, despite the small quantities, to produce olive oil of better quality.

In the Modern Age, countries that today produce olive oil found their true agro-industrial vocations, and olive tree cultivation began the definitive process of occupation of the soil in three countries that, throughout the XX century, had been e positioned among the four world leaders in olive oil production: Spain, Italy and Greece.


PROVING WHAT THE ANCIENTS ALREADY KNEW

Although the industrial revolution culminated, at the end of the XX century, with the mechanization of the mills, it is noteworthy that industry ended up becoming transformed into the largest magnet for investment, to the detriment of agriculture. Official incentives, exportation and quick profit were the main causes. Even though the demand for food increased during the Modern Age, cereals, with immediatist production, predominated the plantations, and olive tree cultivation, with barely significant exceptions, continued to occupy the same historical regions (Andalusia, Toscana and Massina), besides the plantations for domestic consumption on small properties. In synthesis, in the late Modern Age, the improvements in productivity and distribution obtained by agriculture, the emergence of fertilizers and pesticides, are much more due to the advances brought by industrialization than by recognition of the importance of agriculture, as much with regard to the seeking of profit as food for the world population.

Around the end of the XIX century, the advances in scientific research and medicine, the organic benefits of olive oil began to be discovered. The importance of olive oil in combating hepatic colics and in the treatment of the digestive organ arises as a result of medical investigations, and these contribute, slowly, gradually, to olive oil assuming a position of becoming one of the most important fats to be used in ones daily diet.

Therefore, some facts can summarize the Middle Ages in terms of olive tree cultivation: the incessant increase in demand for food, the end of the feudal system, the re-occupation of land previously abandoned, the development of mercantilism, the industrial revolution, and, finally, the inexorable advance of scientific research that, little by little, started the process of proving the organic benefits provided by olive oil over the millennia.