Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum. It is actually a member of the parsley family. It's use is dated back to ancient Egypt as a spice used as a preservative in mummification.
India is the main producer and consumer of cumin. It produces 70% of the world supply but consumes 90% of its own production. (That means that india consumes 63% of the world's cumin.) Other producers are Syria, Iran and Turkey.
Cumin is actually mentioned in the Old Testament (Isiah 28:27) as well as the new Testament (Matthew 23:23). Its use has spread over time from ancient Greece to Rome. In Morocco today, cumin is kept on table much like pepper is in the USA.
Cumin is used for its unique flavor and aroma. It can be found in some cheeses, traditional breads and chili powder.