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History Of The Spice Trade: In A Nutshell

History Of The Spice Trade: In A Nutshell

Realistically, the first ever trade of spices probably happened shortly after humans learned to cook meat and provisions over an open flame.  But in regards to the spice trade movement that defined commerce and trade as industries – it is said that the trails can be followed back to ancient India, south-east Asia and the Caribbean.

The first ever recorded use of spices comes from an Assyrian myth which speaks about the Gods drinking sesame wine on the evening before the earth was created.  The use and mention of sesame in these ancient tales was quite common, and many believe that it was during this time (around 3000 BCE) when spices were introduced for their aromatic elements and medicinal purposes.

The Egyptians were fond of all sorts of spices, more specifically used to “fuel” labor workers while they built pyramids and to preserve the dead during embalming practices.  Spices like cinnamon, anise and cumin were considered a delicacy and the value of such spices is what started the natural evolution of commerce.

In fact, it wasn’t uncommon in ancient south-east Asia for kings and pharaohs to conquer colonies just to reap their lavish spice and herb crops after wards.  One can say that the first drug trade spawned directly from the spice industry.

As in most business, the trading happened on a local level at first – from one merchant to the next.  Eventually those with money and power would catch on a transport mass amounts of spice further east and west of the core trading route.  In a nutshell, this is how we got to where we are today – and why food tastes so amazing!  Thank you spice traders of the past!


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