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Paprika is a spice made from air-dried fruits of the chili pepper family of the species Capsicum annuum. Although paprika is often associated with Hungarian cuisine, the chilies from which it is made are native to the New World, introduced to the Old World from the Americas. Originating in central Mexico it was brought to Spain in the 16th century. The seasoning is also used to add color and flavor to many types of dishes.
The trade in paprika expanded from Iberia to Africa and Asia, and ultimately reached Central Europe through the Balkans, then under Ottoman rule, which explains the Hungarian origin of the modern English term. In Spanish, paprika has been known as pimentón since the 16th century, when it became a typical ingredient of the western region of Extremadura. Despite its presence in Central Europe since the beginning of Ottoman conquests, it did not become popular in Hungary until the late 19th century.