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Spanish missionaries established the tree in the 18th century in California.
It was first cultivated at Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769 or later around 1795.
Today, olive oil is still used in many religious ceremonies.
Over the years, the olive has also been used to symbolize wisdom, fertility, power, and purity.
In recent times, efforts have been directed at producing hybrid cultivars with qualities such as resistance to disease, quick growth, and larger or more consistent crops.
Fossil evidence indicates the olive tree had its origins some 20–40 million years ago in the Oligocene region corresponding to Italy and the eastern Mediterranean Basin.
Olive oil was used to anoint kings and athletes in ancient Greece.
It was burnt in the sacred lamps of temples and was the "eternal flame" of the original Olympic games.
The olive's fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil; it is one of the core ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine.An estimated 865 million olive trees are in the world today (as of 2005), and the vast majority of these are found in Mediterranean countries, with traditionally marginal areas accounting for no more than 25% of olive-planted area and 10% of oil production. The olive branch was often a symbol of abundance, glory, and peace.