Watermelon is thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. Hieroglyphics on the walls of ancient Egyptian buildings more than 5,000 years old record watermelon harvests. They were selected to place in the tombs of kings to take with them to the afterlife.
Merchants carried watermelons to European countries along the Mediterranean. The Moors carried watermelons throughout the rest of Europe by the 13th century.
By the 10th century A.D. watermelons were being eaten in China.
These melons found their way to America and the word appeared in John Mariani's Dictionary of Food and drink in 1615. However, there are those who believe that watermelon arrived in the United States via African slaves.
China is now the world's largest producer of watermelons. The United States is fourth in world production with Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona consistently leading the country in production.
Those delightful over-sized melons so common in the United States South are not well-suited to grow in areas of the country with short summer seasons, but there are some delicious, sweet, well adapted varieties that will produce in a shortened growing season.