The cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back at least 3,500 years. The centre of origin is probably peninsular India, where the closest wild relatives (Cajanus cajanifolia) occur in tropical deciduous woodlands. Archaeological finds of pigeon pea dating to about 3,400 years ago (14th century BC) have been found at Neolithicsites in Kalaburagi, Karnataka (Sanganakallu) and its border areas (Tuljapur Garhi in Maharashtra and Gopalpur in Orissa) and also the south Indian states such as Kerala, where it is called Tomara Payaru. From India it traveled to East Africa and West Africa. There, it was first encountered by Europeans, so it obtained the name Congo Pea. By means of the slave trade, it came to the American continent, probably in the 17th century.