Article 30 – History of spices
Origin of spices
History and origin of spices in India spices have been closely connected to magic , cultural traditions ,preservation ,medicine history. Spices were only component of Indias’ external trade with Mesopotamia, China, Egypt and Arabia along with perfumes and textiles –as far back as 7000 years ago much before the Greek and Roman civilization.
As can be seen below, spices played a key role In shaping the course of world history.
The clove finds a mention in the Ramayana-as well as in writing dating back to the Roman empire in 1st centuries AD. Caravans of camels moved regularly from Calicut, Goa and the orient in Ancient times to transport these spices to distant destinations such as Carthage, Alexandria and Rome.
While these spices are readily available today there was a time when people risked their lives to gain access to Indian spices. From the Indian perspective it brought in traders and invaders alike –centuries after centuries.
The Europeans took their ship on long expidetions in their quest for the true origin of spices were heavily in demand and very difficult to procure , they were even more valuable than gold at that tThe origin of spices- And spice Trade.
Although many spices originated from India 1, sourcing different verities of spices from India was both difficult and risky. It meant embarking on long and difficult sea voyage –as well as with standing intense competition from other powerful empires eager to dominate spice trade.
Between the 7th and 15th centuries .Arab merchants supplied Indian spices to the west but took care to keep their source a closely guarded secret to protect their market, discourage competitors and enhance prices they are known to have spread fanciful stories to satisfy curious –such as cinnamon growing in deep glens infested by poisonous snakes –among other things.
During the middle ages, it has been said that
One pound of ginger was worth a sheep.
One pound of mace was worth thrice sheep or half a cow.
One sack of pepper was said to be worth a man’s life!
According to another estimate, Western Europe imported around 1,000 tons of pepper and 1,000 tons of other common spices annually during the late middle ages. These spices were equivalient to the annual supply of grains for 1.5 million people in terms of value.
War Treaties and Maritime discoveries
It is believed that the Parthian wars were largely fought by the Romans to ensure that the trade that the route of India remained open to them. In fact, they were also said to be a main factor behind the Crusades.
Ashmit Rathod, VII A
Love Dale Central School
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