True Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. The Cinnamon used in North America
is from the cassia tree which is grown in Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and
Cinnamon has been popular since ancient times. Egyptians imported it from China in 2000 BC. In the Middle Ages, the source of cinnamon was a mystery to the western world. Arab traders brought the spice via overland trade routes to Alexandria in Egypt, where it was bought by Venetian traders from Italy who held a monopoly on the spice trade in Europe.
Portuguese traders finally discovered Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the end of the fifteenth century, and restructured the traditional production of cinnamon. The Dutch captured Sri Lanka in 1636 and established a system of cultivation that exists to this day.
In ancient Egypt cinnamon was used medicinally and as a flavoring for beverages. It was also used in embalming, where body cavities were filled with spiced preservatives. In the ancient world cinnamon was more precious than gold.
This is not too surprising though, as in Egypt the abundance of gold made it a fairly common ornamental metal. It was commonly used on funeral pyres in Rome. Nero, emperor of Rome in the first century AD, burned a years supply of cinnamon on his wifes funeral pyre an extravagant gesture meant to signify the depth of his loss.
It also grows plentifully in Malabar, Cochin-China, Sumatra and Eastern Islands. It is also been cultivated in the Brazils, Mauritius, India, Jamaica, etc.