The first written reference to capsicum pepper was made in 1493 by Dr. Chauca, the physician on Columbus's voyage. Dr. Chaua reported that the native islanders used a spice they called "agi" made from thse peppers.
A capsicum pepper's "personality" is determined by an alkaloid called capsaicin, an unusally powerful compound found in no other plant.
Hotness in peppers ranges from mildest bell peppers, with a zero score to habeneros which rate 200,00 to 300,00 units on the Scoville scale. The Scoville scale was developed by a pharmacologist named Wilbur Scoville in 1912.