The olive tree, Olea Europea, was introduced onto the Iberian peninsula by Phoenicians and Greeks in about the first centuries BC. The Romans extended olive cultivation and improved oil production techniques. Oil trading -mainly by sea- played an important role in the development of the Mediterranean economy. Oils from Hispania, the largest supplier of this precious liquid, were considered to have the best quality and were normally consumed in Rome and many other parts of the empire.
The olive tree is typical of the Mediterranean area as it needs a lot of sun and a climate characterised by mild winters, rainy autumns and springs, and warm, dry summers.