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I am wondering what tense should be used before "That was until" in the following:

Even though the spice is popular in Asia, it has remained largely unknown in the West. That was until a merchant brought it to England in 1868.

Is the present perfect correct in the example?

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    In the context of the entire statement, you'd want the past perfect there, had remained.
    – TimR
    Aug 14, 2018 at 12:29
  • Could the simple past remained be used?
    – Apollyon
    Aug 14, 2018 at 12:31
  • Those sentences could be rewritten in a number of ways. Even though the spice is popular in Asia today and had long been popular there, it remained largely unknown in the West until a merchant brought it to England in 1868.
    – TimR
    Aug 14, 2018 at 12:32
  • Even though the spice had long been popular in Asia, it remained largely unknown in the West until a merchant brought it to England in 1868. Even though the spice was popular in Asia, it had long remained unknown in the West until a merchant...
    – TimR
    Aug 14, 2018 at 12:34

1 Answer 1

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As Tᴚoɯɐuo mentions in his comment, in this context the past perfect "had remained*" is expected.

The spice had remained unknown until a merchant brought it to England.

The present perfect would work if you were writing from the perspective of a time right around when the spice was introduced:

This spice is immensely popular in the Far East, but until now has remained largely unknown in Europe. However I bring Your Majesty a small sample in the hope that it will find favor with your court.

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