Cavendish bananas entered mass commercial production in 1903 but did not gain prominence until later when Panama disease attacked the dominant Gros Michel ("Big Mike") variety in the 1950s. Because they were successfully grown in the same soils as previous
Cavendish bananas were named after William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire. Though they were not the first known banana specimens in Europe, in around 1834 Cavendish received a shipment of bananas (from Mauritius) courtesy of the chaplain of Alton Towers (then the seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury).
His head gardener and friend, Sir Joseph Paxton, cultivated them in the greenhouses of Chatsworth House. The plants were botanically described by Paxton as Musa cavendishii, after the Duke. For his work Paxton won a medal at the 1835 Royal Horticultural Society show.
The Chatsworth bananas were shipped off to various places in the Pacific around the 1850s. It is believed that some of them may have ended up in the Canary Islands, though other authors believe that the bananas in the Canary Islands had been there since the fifteenth century and had been introduced through other means, namely by early Portuguese explorers who obtained them from West Africa and were later responsible for spreading them to the South Asia