Pizza is a food with strong roots in ancient history. In fact, historians believe that people ate some form of pizza even as long ago as the Etruscan period. In the beginning, pizza was the food of the poor. It was easy to prepare and required few complex ingredients. The only ingredients needed to make pizza were yeast, salt, oil, and flour, which were available to most families.
Though pizza is now a popular dish all over the world, historians believes that it first originated in Naples, Italy. Some other cities in Southern Italy also claim to have invented pizza but it isn't possible to determine which city was the first to create this dish. Historians believe that the first pizza was made in 1600 BC. Ancient pizza was most likely seasoned with salt, cheese, garlic and lard. The first written records of pizza date back as far as 997 AD. The name 'pizza' originated in the 16th century as a derivation of local pronunciation of 'pitta,' a word referring to flattened bread.
The modern pizza was developed after Italy began importing tomatoes from Peru. Tomatoes were cooked with basil and salt and used in sauces before someone decided to put them on pizza. However, after tomatoes started appearing beneath the pizza's other toppings, the modern pizza was born. During the 19th century, large waves of immigration from Italy to America brought the pizza into the new world.
Also during the 19th century, Chef Raffaele Esposito created the Margherita pizza by adding mozzarella cheese to the popular dish. He developed the pizza at the request of Queen Margherita, who had asked him to create three different pizzas: one with mustinicola, one with marinara, and one with tomato and mozzarella. The Queen liked the final pizza so much that Chef Esposito decided to name the dish after her. After its creation, the pizza Margherita became the most popular pizza in the world.
After WWII, more Italian emigration spread the influence of the pizza even further. As a result, the city with the highest level of pizza consumption in the world became New York City, New York, followed by Sao Paulo, Brazil. Today, pizza is popular in locations all over the world.