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The Spice Trade

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Spice trade in Europe

It all started in the late 1500 when the first traders had the desire to find a small but tasty flavor to add to their foods. The spice trade changed so much the wealth and people's attitude toward power over time. People fought for richness and to keep trade going...but was it always worth it?

Traders began traveling a lot of time ago, and with the discovery of America, new people joined boats to see the riches around the world. One of the biggest trade markets developing at the time were spices. The price to buy spices was raised daily and most of the poor people couldn’t afford it, believing it or not something meaningless since then became an innovation, which didn’t only took riches but also developed people's ways of thinking and acting towards each other mostly in a bad way. It’s here that the spice trade began to grow and created a bullion of money over time. Bullion, was the coin used once the spice trade and trade in general, developed so much that the old coins or “trade for trade” (trade an object for another) were not enough to buy resources because the spices had become so expensive and hard to achieve. As mentioned above people traveled around the world to just get that spice that everyone wanted. A good aspect that trade took even though it was bad is that as small companies grew they were helped to free from state costs and money keeping. Trade became over time a true job.

But now let’s go back to where everything began. It all started with travelers such as Christophorus Columbus finding accidentally America but one fun fact that nobody ever told is that he lost his way to India and got to Jamaica, so finding spices. Other two travelers like Vasco da Gama and Magellan contributed to circumnavigating states or even all the globe. (Tran A) Spices overall were found accidentally by explorers trying to discover the world. A big contributor was Marco Polo who was the first one to try out pepper from Pepperland (WH9 Booklet). As more people found out about the spice trade, new explorers started going to India and to the main spice trade places to get spices. Before spreading the spice trade in Europe as well, Arabs were the controller of the spice trade from the east. Arabs also made up stories to hide spices' position. “To satisfy the curious, to protect their market, and to discourage competitors, they spread fantastic tales to the effect that cassia grew in shallow lakes guarded by winged animals and that cinnamon grew in deep glens infested with poisonous snakes.”(Alam, M). These stories became legends over time but they were not effective because Europeans got to find spices anyway.

This continuity of spreading in Europe got wars started, mainly for the power over spices island(source). These wars also lasted for more than 200 years. One of them was from Spanish and Portuguese fighting against English and Dutch. Even though wars kept going, trade continued around the world, and missionaries (Spanish and the Portuguese) started spreading again Christianity and in the meantime finding trade markets for gold. As more people joined boats new companies were founded and monopolies created as a center of trade. One of the biggest monopolies was Venice, Italy. Which over time took all the control over the east markets. Usually, monopolies were chosen for their position and how easy they were to be reached from all over the places(WH9 Booklet). With wars or not communication between people was really important to perceive with the spice trade. And by not having good communication trade might have stopped. And even though communication lack did not affect people directly then it did over time.

Overall communication was a meeting point between cultures but sadly caused people wanting to always win this passage of time did not improve communication between people. Although if people would have communicated with each other some misunderstandings between people would not be happening by now. Moreover, a huge effect on this problem was also caused by Portuguese and Spanish continuity in wanting everyone to become Christians. The treatments used sometimes made people feel obligated to join the religion and not want to. Furthermore, although there was no communication and greed and wealth took over, the spice trade took great moments and happiness to the world and became a really important factor over time. The greed that took people to act differently toward spices that in this case became gold led to different consequences which were useless because people died and/or fought for no reason. Is understandable that spices were like gold and took the money, and everyone would like to be rich, to be able to afford everything they would not but fighting was not worth it at all.

In conclusion spice trade over time changed people’s beliefs and took many richnesses from all sides. The spice trade was not good for people because being wealthy is the main goal of people and this caused them to fight with each other and not be able to trade, share and communicate and maybe learn new cultures and see others’ perspectives. But if those traders did not find anything about the spice trade in today’s world we would not be able to see how significantly the spice trade impacted our communities and peoples.

MLA format:

Alam, M. (n.d.). Access Britannica School (1158087846 869918024 S. Wolpert,

1158087847 869918024 S. Subrahmanyam, & 1158087848 869918024 R.

Thapar,c Eds.). January 20, 2021, from


Tran, A. (2019, July 26). Nine Fascinating Facts About The Spice Trade.

January 20, 2021, from


Whipps, H. (2008, May 12). How the Spice Trade Changed the World.

January 20, 2021, from


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