History of Spices

The early written history of spices comes from Egypt, China, and India with trading done via land caravans across the middle east.  In the Middle Ages, spice production rapidly expanded across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.  In addition to land routes, transport via ship became feasible.  Due to the high value and little weight, sailors and navigators explored more and more parts of the world and returned with more and more exotic spices.  The exploding trade drove the wealth and importance of Venice and later-on Spain and Portugal.


The discovery of America with new world spices (e.g., allspice, chili pepper, vanilla) and the advent of the British Navy created a global trade of spices, and unfortunately, supported the drive for colonization by European countries.