The earliest mentions of pepper cultivation in Cambodia can be traced to court records from the 13th century Song Dynasty of China. However, modern pepper cultivation truly began with French colonisation in the 19th century.
With their unique understanding of "terroir", or 'sense of place', the French realised that the mineral-rich soil and coastal winds of Kampot Province made the area exceptionally suitable for cultivating pepper of uniquely high quality.
After this initial success, the knowledge of growing Kampot pepper was almost completely lost under the Khmer Rouge. Pepper production dwindled to almost nothing and has only recently started to revive.
In 2010, Kampot and the surrounding area were awarded Protected Geographical Indication status to ensure the future of Kampot and the continued growth of the local pepper industry.