The Anglo-Saxon word became pise or pisu, and later in English, "pease".
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, by 1600 the last two letters were dropped because people believed the word was plural, forming the singular "pea" that we know today.
As most peas are a cool-weather crop, historians believe the main centre of pea development was middle Asia, including northwest India and Afghanistan.
A second area of development lies in the Near East, and a third includes the plateau and mountains of Ethiopia.
During the reign of King James I (1566 to 1625), shopkeepers could be heard touting their wares in the streets of London: "Hot grey peas and a suck of bacon."Dried peas were used by the early explorers of "New France" to make traditional French Canadian pea soup.
Nutritious and portable, peas were a staple of the voyageurs' diet, supplying the power behind the muscle and brawn of early exploration and trade in Canada.
"Some ladies, even after having supped at the Royal Table, and well supped too, returning to their own homes, at the risk of suffering from indigestion, will again eat peas before going to bed.
Peas were probably among the first vegetables to be canned by the Campbell Soup Company.
Though the heat of the canning process destroys the chlorophyll that gives peas their natural bright green color, the dull, olive green color and distinct canned flavor did not discourage true pea aficionados.
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Some say the word "pea" came from Sanskrit; however, most concur that the Latin pisum, resembling the older Greek pisos or pison, is the true origin of the word.
This attention demonstrates the importance of peas in the Roman diet.