Charles Marie de La Condamine is credited with introducing samples of rubber to the Académie Royale des Sciences of France in 1736. In 1751, he presented a paper by François Fresneau to the Académie (eventually published in 1755) which described many of the properties of rubber. This has been referred to as the first scientific paper on rubber.
South America remained the main source of what limited amount of latex rubber was consumed during much of the 19th century. However in 1876, Henry Wickham gathered thousands of seeds from Brazil, and these were germinated in Kew Gardens, UK. The seedlings were then sent to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Indonesia, Singapore and British Malaya. Malaya (now Malaysia) was later to become the biggest producer of rubber. About 100 years ago, the Congo Free State in Africa was also a significant source of natural rubber latex, mostly gathered by forced labor. Liberia and Nigeria also started production of rubber.
In India, commercial cultivation of natural rubber was introduced by the British Planters, although the experimental efforts to grow rubber on a commercial scale in India were initiated as early as 1873 at the Botanical Gardens, Kolkata. The first commercial Hevea plantations in India were established at Thattekadu in Kerala in 1902.