More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world, making them the fourth most popular agricultural product. Some cultures (most notably Japan) use the fiber in the banana plant to make fabric and sometimes even paper. In Cairo, you can buy papyrus from market stalls which are most often built from banana leaves.
Portuguese sailors introduced bananas to the Americas, bringing them from West Africa in the 16th century. Bananas first became popular with the masses at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Celebration, where they were sold wrapped in foil for 10 cents each.
The scientific name for it is Musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men.” Some really wise men literally brought a fortune or fame using the fruit or just the name. For example, the 1971 Woody Allen movie, “Bananas” made a whopping $11.8 million, and appeared in numerous top hit lists including American Film Institute’s 2000 and AFI’s 100 years 100 laughs.
In Kalamazoo, the construction of a vehicle came to an end in 2011 – this vehicle was an F-150 truck that became the “Big Banana Car.” At almost 23 feet (7 meters) long and 9.8 feet (3 meters) tall, this car has a top speed of around 85mph (136.8km/h).
The Banana Bonanza didn’t end with just a movie name or a car. In 2012, a resident of Illinois managed to break a world record by peeling and consuming 8 whole bananas in 60 seconds. In 2016, a man from the U.K., Andrew Lawrence, ran 2 hours, 47 minutes and 41 seconds in a banana costume during the London marathon in order to secure the title of the fastest time to run a marathon whilst wearing a fruit costume.
A “Banana Republic” is not necessarily related to the fruit exclusively. It describes a region that is solely sufficient on one single resource for its income and can be considered vulnerable for the very same reason.