History Of The Nutmeg Trade

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History of the Nutmeg Trade: Nutmeg was traded as early as 200 BC, when the Romans would travel from Egypt across the Indian Ocean, to trade goods with the natives of Banda in exchange for spices. Spice use declined around the 5th century with the fall of the Roman Empire, and was later reintroduced by the Arabs. (Conley, J. 2002.) In the 6th century the Arabs were the only traders of spice, and acted as middlemen for India, Indonesia, Africa, and the Orient, supplying spices to Europe through Venice at high prices. ( ) Nutmeg was highly valued in medieval European cuisine as a flavoring, food preservative, and for perceived medicinal properties. St Theodore the Studite was known for allowing his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their pease…show more content…
While the Portuguese remained participants in the Spice Trade, they had no actual footholds in the Bandas after 1515 (Milton, 1999). Dutch East Indies Company vs British East India Company: 17th Century In the 17th Century the Netherlands took control of the Banda Islands, successfully gaining monopoly of the spice trade. The Dutch were engaged in competition with the English and Portuguese for control of the Spice Islands, and decided to forcefully establish their control through their Dutch East Indies trading company. At this point the Portuguese presence was decreasing in the Bandas, and the British and British East India trading company were the Dutch’s primary competitors in the East Indies (Milton, 1999). While interactions between the Dutch and the Bandanese (peoples indigenous to the Banadas) were initially mutually beneficial, they turned bloody over time. Dutch traders offered unwanted manufactured goods that were not desirable to the Bandanese people, (fabrics that were not climate suitable), and attempted to impose restrictions on trade between the Bandanese and the British. The Dutch successfully persuade the leading Bandanese citizens to sign a treaty known as the “Eternal Compact” treaty, granting the Dutch a monopoly on spice purchases. This unfair trade agreement further soured relations between them. In 1609 the Bandenese ambushed and killed
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