Everyday Exotic Spices

Spices – History and Mystery (Pt 1)

Spices – History and Mystery (Pt 1)


Europeans embarked upon voyages around the world.

~ Hundreds of years ago, Europeans sailed all over the globe to bring back various spices from the East. Spices were not just used to flavor food, but were for medicinal purposes and enjoyed also because of their exotic aromas. As such they were highly valued commodities.

spices~ To trace the spice trails taken by the Europeans, track backwards from the Greco-Roman world to Egypt then Africa, and travel through Arabia (formerly Asia Minor) until you reach India.

Image Credit: Bowls of Spices from Above, Agra, India ~ Bill Bachmann ~ Allposters.com

“The economically important Silk Road (red) and spice trade routes (blue) blocked by the Ottoman Empire ca. 1453 with the fall of the Byzantine Empire, spurring exploration motivated initially by the finding of a sea route around Africa and triggering the Age of Discovery.”

[Image Source: By Whole_world_-_land_and_oceans_12000.jpg: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Centerderivative work:Splettederivative work:Bongan – Whole_world_-_land_and_oceans_12000.jpgSilk_route.jpg, Public DomainWikimedia Commons]

Silk_route_copy

The Year is 1608

The original spice routes started in India.

As is usually the case with precious commodities, nations sought to control the spice trade. The British fought the Dutch and the Portuguese. Fast forward through history to the year 1608; ships belonging to the East India Company arrive in India, at the port of Surat. This company had been given monopoly privileges on all trade with the East Indies by the British parliament, but their control did not last forever. In 1857-8, there was a rebellion which led to the end of the East India Company.

The dissolution of the East India Company had no impact on the integral role of India in the global spice trade. Though India is not the only country that exports spices to Europe and the United States, this “land of spices” does continue to be a major exporter of spices to Europe, the USA and various other parts of the world.

Based on the substantial growth of spices exports during the last five years and particularly during the period 2010-2011, the SPICES BOARD INDIA, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India reported: ” India can now boast as the monopoly supplier of spice oils and oleoresins (naturally occurring mixtures of an oil and a resin) the world over. In the case of curry powders, spice powders, spice mixtures and spices in consumer packs, India is in a formidable position.”

Spices introduced by India include cardamom, cassia, ginger, tamarind, curry, turmeric, and many more. Cardamon is even referred to as the “queen of spices“. (Saffron is known as the “king of spices“. FYI.) These everyday exotic spices are an important contribution to the quality of our daily living.

Stock Your Kitchen Cabinet
with Everyday Exotic Spices

[ Article concluded at Part 2. ]

 



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