Guinea Pigs were kept by the Incas and were found in houses when the Spanish conquistadors conquered South America. The natives of South Amercia used the guinea pig as a source of food and it is still considered a delicacy today.
There is some uncertainty as to when Guinea Pigs arrived in Europe - it is thought that they may have been brought back to Spain as early as the 16th Century. However, by the 18th Century the Guinea Pig had arrived in a number of European countries where they were used in laboratories before being kept as pets.
In the 19th Century the guinea pig was being exhibited at shows in the UK.