Some idea of what paprika first looked like can be obtained from a relief found on the Tello Obelisk, thought to have been carved around 800-1000 AD. The introduction of paprika into Europe can be dated from the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to America in 1492. Portuguese ships carried paprika from Spain to Arabia, and from there it spread to all the areas conquered by the Ottoman Turks, including Hungary (Andrews, 1984). The first large-fruited (Kalinkói, Várnai), tomato-shaped and horn-shaped types were introduced into Hungary by Bulgarian market-gardeners in the late 19th century. These market-gardeners maintained their paprika varieties through the positive selection of individual plants. The first organised breeding of vegetable peppers is linked with the name of Lambert Angeli (1916-1971), while the most successful paprika breeder in Hungary was István Túri (1933-1999). No ready-made paprika lines are available on the market, so paprika breeders use a greater proportion of lines of their own breeding than those working with other species. It is an advantage, however, that in paprika many quality traits can be selected on the basis of phenotypical traits, so in many cases visual evaluation can be employed in place of the far more costly measurement of performance traits. A further advantage is that the paprika species behaves decisively as a self-fertilised crop, the plants require little space, and the species is cosmopolitan. To improve selection efficiency, an environment is required that accentuates differences for the traits to be selected. In Hungary this can best be achieved in a field environment, which is also less costly. The following traits can be tested in field nurseries: tolerance (CMV, Xanthomonas, etc.), horizontal resistance traits (purple nodes, leathery leaves, etc.), development rate, abiotic stress tolerance, susceptibility to sunburn and purple fruit, undesirable fruit shape and surface, lack of pungency (C gene) and undesirable flavour traits. The following traits can be selected either in the field or in the greenhouse: yield potential (fruit size, number of fruit/plant, flesh thickness), plant height, regeneration ability, Susceptibility to Ca spots, white colour, basic colour of biologically mature fruit, determinate growth. Traits that can only be selected under controlled conditions: sensitivity to light deficiency, vertical resistance genes. An important practical rule for selection is that more costly techniques should only be applied after the number of plants has been reduced using cheaper selection methods.