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Note: This article is purely my own speculation on the subject.
I have never seen any reference to when people began whipping cream. However, there are several clues from the physical properties of cream and its ability to 'whip' (increase in volume).
1. Unpasteurized, unhomogenized cream whips much easier then pasteurized or pasteurized & homogenized cream.
2. Cream must be below 50 degrees to whip, at 50 or above it churns into butter rather than whips.
3. The whipping action must be just that - moving a whisk back and forth churns the cream, rather than whipping it and increasing its volume.
• someone trying to make butter in a hurry ends up with partially whipped cream (raw cream whips easier).
• someone on horseback is carrying a half full container of cream and riding fast - which partially whips the cream.
As you can see from these examples, the properties of cream that enable it to be whipped to increase its volume probably mean it was discovered accidentally many times by many different people. Someone (or several different people in different areas and times) finally realized what caused it and started to do it on purpose. It must have happened in winter (cream whips easier when cold). Which gives a high probability it happened in northern Europe.
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