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Spice Trade: The Unexpected History Behind Our Extra Taste

Filed under: Asian Studies — andrew.hu at 11:12 pm on Tuesday, September 15, 2015  Tagged , , , , ,

The way we interpret spices today would often be “a substance that is cheap and affordable, but it tastes good in flavoring our food….” However, when looking back to the foundation of spice and establishment of the Spice Trade, we can see that spices were truly an important phase of world history. It led to many imperative achievements such as the spreading of religions (for instance, the spread of Islam), economical benefits for European merchants, and also caused European nations to expand and bulk its region.

First off, the Spice Trade led to the spreading of religions, in which many cultural beliefs were spread across different continents. One that stands out is the spreading of Islam, the heart of the Spice Trade. Arab states were wealthy due to the fact that areas under their share stored valuable resources such as spices. During the period of the Spice Trade, there were two prime reasons of why Islamic states grew larger than ever: one out of the two, according to American TED Case Studies, was caused by the drift of the Spice Trade as, “the second, less violent, approach was that used to expand into Southeast Asia, central Asia and China, and sub-Saharan Africa. This was accomplished through the trade of spices and is what will form the crux of this study” (Unknown 1). During the time period of 1300 CE, the majority of India, the Sahara Desert, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic States were all crucial areas that supported major trade routes for the spice transportation throughout Europe, Asia, and other big nations. Muslim merchants worked together, and those who converted to Islam were able to gain valuable contacts to help expand their trade, which also benefitted them economically. Islamic beliefs dominated the spice trade throughout the time period, and through spreading across all over the three continents, the belief has developed into one of the major religions today. Overall, the spice trade played a significant part on the spreading of Islam, and shaped the religion on what it is today. However, it also provided many European and Islamic merchants with economical benefits.

Religion Map:

Religion Map

The Spice Trade benefitted almost all of the European merchants economically. Spices were considered luxurious accessories to have around in Europe in the 1200s. In the Spice It Up Lesson 3.1 it stated, “Many Europeans could not afford peppercorns or any spices. Others used them only for special occasions, such as weddings. In richer homes, the spice cabinet was kept locked” (Unknown 23). This passage was significant because it shows the value of spices. Firsthand traders paid very low prices in East India, and the price rose inevitably as the product travelled through the hands of the middlemen. When European merchants received them, they sold the same spices to wealthy families for an extraordinary amount of profit, such as coinage, gold, silver, and diamonds. In another passage of the Spice It Up Lesson 3.1, it stated that, “The sale of pepper in the market-place required the same kind of protection for the commodity as one might expect for an expensive jewelry store.” (Unknown 1). From this, we are able to see that almost all the merchants benefitted strongly from spice trading at the time because by successfully giving the products to Europeans, it required a lot of protection, which resulted in them being high paid. This is significant because it raised the value and pricing of spices itself, and also inherited cultural beliefs. For instance, cinnamon was believed to be a precious gift in the Christian bible, and the trading of these vastly produced products was later exploited to America, which led to the expansion of European countries.

From this map, it clearly portrays where the merchants can trade products, and where things are mainly produced:


Lastly, as Western countries found the incoming products too expensive and lavish, they decided to politically stretch the territorial sizes of its borders. The Dutch Republic (now known as Holland) held its government in the Dutch India in the 1800s. In a primary source written on notes by George Early, it states that “Batavia is the seat of the supreme government of Dutch India, and forms the depot for the produce of all its possessions in the Eastern Archipelago… Of the three articles most in demand for European consumption, coffee, pepper, and sugar…” (Early 1). This explains why expanding the nation’s own territorial size is strongly beneficial: because it grips the most demanding products that other European countries want. Another example is the Great Britain, whom monopolized the spice industry of India in the 1850s. According to a primary source written by the grandson of Bahadur Shah, the British completely ruled the Indian Ocean by charging high taxes, and paying low values to the products that are being exported: “… [the] British government have monopolized the trade of all fine and valuable merchandise such as indigo, cloth, and other articles of shipping, leaving only the trade of trifles to people, and even in this they are not without their share of the profit” (Shah 1). Finding ways to manipulate and monopolize the Spice Trade and earning an extremely high profit from taxation, and the export of these precious spices were all earnings to the country. However, the biggest picture for the European countries in set is the expansion of land and colonizing different continents.

Through analyzing the Spice Trade using different elements of social studies, we can now better understand the causes and effects of the Spice Trade, and how that has impacted us in the 21st century. The spreading of religions, economic benefits, and the expansion of European countries were all key rudiments to what shapes our society today.

Primary Source Left from 1832 (George Early a seaman, merchant, and writer):

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.06.02 PM


Map- “Trade Routes 2.” Wikipedia. N.p., 16 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Sept. 2015..

Spice It Up- Segade, Irene. “Big Era Six – The Convergency.” (n.d.): n. pag. World History for Us All. UCLA. Web.
Islams and Spice Trade- “Islam and the Spice Trade.” N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2015. .

“TED Case Studies Arab Spice Trade and Spread of Islam: SPICE Case.” Case Study. Web. 15 Sept. 2015. .

George Early Batavia observations 1832 (J. M. Gullick, Adventures and Encounters: Europeans in South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995.)

Whipps, Heather. “How the Spice Trade Changed the World.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 12 May 2008. Web. 15 Sept. 2015. .

McNamara, Robert. “A Timeline of India in the 1800s (British Raj).” History 1800s. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.

The Unexpected Experiences In Brian And I

Filed under: Humanities — andrew.hu at 6:01 pm on Sunday, May 31, 2015  Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Aspects in life are what build us today. Which aspects can we learn from the book Hatchet? The book Hatchet, written by Gary Paulsen, is a novel about a boy stuck in the woods, due to the pilot of the plane having a heart attack. In this book there are many themes to be explored, and one of the main that I’ve discovered is: events that happen in life will always be carved into your mind and will definitely be remembered like a mental journal.

During the exposition part of the book, Brian was a depressed and scared teenager, who was experiencing some of the most horrific events a teenager can expect in life. However, as he was stuck in the woods, he became more mature and learned to appreciate nature. In this quote, “The big split. Brian’s father did not understand as Brian did, knew only that Brian’s mother wanted to break the marriage apart. (18 Paulsen)” it displays one of the reasons why Brian was depressed. As the story moved on, Brian learned different aspects in life, through living by himself in the woods. “I am not the same, he thought. I see, I hear differently. He did not know when the change started, but it was there; when a sound came to him now he didn’t just hear it but would know the sound. (150)” When Brian looked back after being rescued from the forest, he thought he learned a lot of things, “But events, events were burned into his memory and so he used them to remember time, to know and remember what had happened, to keep a mental journal…” (180) The time that Brian was stuck in the forest made him learn that all these little events can be carved into his mind and remembered, just like a mental journal.

After reading this book, I instantly connected myself to the novel. The first time I was ever stuck in a place alone was when I attended Malmö’s Boy Scout program. It was probably one of the scariest things I’ve experienced in my life. At night we had limited food and had to eat small insects from the ground. We had to pick up dirty roots to get fire to survive through Sweden’s harsh winters. I was in a group with four others, and we had to share a tent in the middle of nowhere. At night, you could hear the nature scream, and daytime we had to go to new destinations. Just like Brian’s story, it was a survival game where we were trapped in the woods for four days. For the first two days, we were in base one, where we had to learn how to find food, water, and basic essentials that we needed. Likewise, I learned some of the things that Brian also learned. For example I learned to identify which branch is the driest, and where the vegetables will most likely appear. However, for the last two days, I was forced to stay in the middle of nowhere by myself because my team needed to split up. This was when I gained the most knowledge about survival. First day I blanked out and just ate whatever I saw on the ground, for example like insects, fruits, and remaining food that the group had left me. Then I figured that there was no way I can be as lucky, therefore, I reviewed all the things we have learned before being on field, and tried to apply them into real life situations. However, that did not work out very well, and on that day the only food I ate was raspberries. That day it was one of the cruelest experiences that I had ever experienced. Like Brian, the four days was memorable, in fact it was so memorable that till this day, I won’t forget anything about it. I learned that when events like this happen in life, it would always be etched into my mind.

Contrasting Moment Written In A Diary

Filed under: Humanities — andrew.hu at 9:17 am on Monday, May 18, 2015  Tagged , , , , , , ,




For the following multimedia, it’s a diary made for the main character Brian, in the book Hatchet written by Gary Paulsen. In this post, you can see the way Brian grows as a man, and how he faces the nature. He was stuck in the forrest after a lucky land on the ground, afterwards he couldn’t face the fact that he is stuck in this forrest with no rescue teams coming after him. He survived with a Hatchet, that helped him cut wood and branches. In this passage, “I can’t take it this way, alone with no fire and in the dark,, and next time it might be something worse, maybe a bear, and it wouldn’t be just quills in the leg…” he was only a boy who couldn’t face; however, he changed after adapting the life in the great forrest (132 Paulsen). The change in him, “None of that used to be in Brian and now it was a part of him, a changed part of him, a grown part of him, and the two things, his mind and his body, had come together as well, had made a connection with each other that he didn’t quite understand,” after a one or two weeks, he was a fully grown young man (158). From this diary, you can see the the growth of Brian throughout his lifelong summer in the empty forrest.

This multimedia page was created by the application Power Point Microsoft.

Exemplary Expeditions

Filed under: Humanities — andrew.hu at 8:47 am on Monday, May 18, 2015  Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thinking about this project, and actually doing it was completely different. In the beginning of the project I didn’t really think that we could pile up a magazine and be able to publish it. However, towards the end, my group came up with tremendous ideas, titles, and designs that I was really proud of. An example is our magazine title, “Exemplary Expeditions” took us a long time to think of, and at the end we were really satisfied with the title.

In another perspective I also think there were a few things that we could have done better. For example, when we displayed the magazine, we could have done a better job in finding higher quality pictures. Another feature that I could have done differently is making more creative designs with other websites, instead of just using the application Pages.

One quality that I learned throughout the project was I could work well as a team, if I select the right people. That is an important aspect in my opinion, because in life collaborating with people that I can work with would benefit my group mates and me a lot.

For future references and people who are trying to make a magazine, I strongly recommend them to promote collaboration work because that way, it will help the group and individuals to speed up the pace of the work. In the beginning of the project, we lacked communication skills and couldn’t get our magazine updated and that was kind of a ‘let down’ for some of the parts in our magazine. This project also required a lot of creativity, and that was probably the hardest part of the magazine. So if you are one of those really creative people, this project is a time where you can really explode.

Lost In The Unexpected

Filed under: Humanities — andrew.hu at 11:47 pm on Sunday, May 10, 2015  Tagged , , , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 1.27.20 AM

The image above is a magazine cover made for the novel Hatchet, written by Gary Paulsen. This magazine cover shows that the main character, Brian, is fighting with himself and the society. This cover page shows some of the key elements that took place in the story and focuses on some of the characteristics that Brian has. Brian started out as a depressed and troubled child, as the quote emphasizes, “Now Brian sat, looking out the window with the roar thundering through his ears, and tried to catalog what had led up to his taking this flight. The thinking started. Always it started with a single word. Divorce.” (8 Paulsen).
This passage showed that he was not satisfied with the situation of his family, and it clearly states that he is sad. Brian’s family divorced (his parents separated), and every summer he would visit a Canadian oil field to meet his father. Unfortunately, the pilot that drove his jet got a heart attack and died during the flight. He was left on the plane alone as shown in the quote, “He was alone. In the roaring plane with no pilot he was alone. Alone.” (10). In this passage it shows that he is fighting against the society, where he cannot face the fact that he is on his own. Brian, a young teenager, was stranded in the forest for the summer by himself; no one knows that he is there.From there on, he will stand by himself and fight his way out.

Bookmercial – For All Who Wants To Know the Truth About Eichmann

Filed under: Humanities — andrew.hu at 2:12 pm on Sunday, April 26, 2015  Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.39.50 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 1.39.31 AM

The three ads above are three different print ads that I have made for the book,The Nazi Hunters, where different themes that were discovered in the book are portrayed in the ads. In the print ads I used strong vocabulary and book reviews on Goodreads to emphasize this meaningful historical fiction novel written by Neal Bascomb. I used the application Pages to create the three ads.

Although the design of the ads may not be ‘perfection’; however, the individual quotes that are embedded in the ads are strongly influential. Firstly the quote, “You can run, but not forever…” is a quote where it shows one of the main themes, which is: Justice will never be beaten down, no matter how far you run away from it (183 Bascomb). In the story Eichmann, a former SS General who planned all the transportation for “The Final Solution For the Jewish Question”, was being hunted from an agency that hunted down all the leftover Nazi generals.

The second ad, also show the same theme: where you can never escape from the punishments you deserve, otherwise referred to justice. The second ad also emphasizes more on the ‘intense’ side of the book.

The third ad, introduces the book more, where it mainly focused on the theme and what the book is generally about. The clause ‘justice to the innocents’ is used to show the innocence of the six million Jews that were slaughtered and eradicated in Auschwitz, Austria.

Citations for all the images found and edited online:

“Nazi Party Rally Grounds.” Wikipedia Images. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. ZS

“Eichmann Statue.” Yahoo Images. N.p., n.d. Web. .

“Nazi Logo.” Yahoo Images. Yahoo, 3 May 2011. Web. .

Final Journal Entry: The End Of A Long Journey

Filed under: Science — andrew.hu at 11:52 pm on Thursday, April 23, 2015  Tagged , , , , ,

It was an utmost pleasure being hired by the Dream On team as one of their product designers. Firstly, mentioning about our product, in personal belief, I think we did a great job in both achieving the goal of our product. First we wished to make an efficient phone case, which failed. However, as we swallowed our failure deep into our throats, we came up with a new idea and a new goal, which is what made us, as scientists, learn what it’s like to improvise. We achieved the new goal, which was to make a polymer that would be efficient and a long lasting protection for paper.

Moving along, we had some ups and downs during the project where we faced some challenging problems. Not going to mention every small problem; however, the biggest problem was when we failed to make a protective phone cover, which put us into a paranoid situation. Nevertheless, our group always contributed brilliant ideas that will help and solve the challenges that we face. This was probably the most significant change that we have made in our project, which was to bravely change the product’s original design to a paper protector. In terms of the infomercial video, we did not face any big problems; however, one part was filming it in one short period of class time was a struggle.

Some of the most important changes that we have made towards our ‘finished product’ were definitely the recipe, no matter to the phone case or the ‘Survival Paper’, we made changes to see if it improved or made things worst. The recipe mattered a lot because we went from one change to another. For instance, in the beginning we followed the original recipe for making Boogers (attached below); however, we realized the changes when adding extra glue into the product, which will make it stickier. A small problem of ours is, we lost track of how many times we changed the recipe, therefore in the document below, is all the ones that we have recorded.

As a ‘Dream On’ member, and associating with their corporation, it was a great honor. My group learned quite a bit from experiencing an ‘impromptu’ experiment in developing a market product. Firstly, we learned that a scientist won’t always achieve what they have planned to do; however, things could change around and maybe something more intensive and creative might be crafted during the process of developing the original product. Second, which is the most important one is that we all worked as a team to bring in a product that will satisfy the investors. This is an important factor that we will be looking into in the near future and possibly for the rest of our lives.

This project brought a lot of fun and created a big mess in our hands at the end of every lesson. Our group cooperated in a decent manner that did not disappoint the supervisors or any other group members. It was also really fun seeing some of the ideas the other groups have come up with, especially inspecting and watching the process of their development and the changes they made throughout.

Day 4.001

Day 4.002

Day 4.003

Day 4.004


Polymers Project Day 4: Final Countdown

Filed under: Science — andrew.hu at 2:44 am on Monday, April 13, 2015  Tagged , , , ,

Continuing on from last lessons’ progress, our group failed to make an iPhone case. However, the failure resulted in us finding a new solution, and that is to make a paper cover, where one side of it is its protection, and the other side is a note paper. The goal of this new plastic cover is to protect small note papers from getting wet. Our team believes that this product will strongly benefit people when they travel, for instance, when traveling, we often get our papers wet; however, this new invention is its problem solver.

Our team is making quick progress after the our failed invention of the phone case. So far, we have made a similar design with a recipe that has been attached above. We have already stuck a piece of paper onto the ‘cover’ to see how the liquid absorbs the paper. We let our design stay in the fridge for around 6 hours and surprisingly the design is quite successful.

In the sudden change of our product, we experienced some things that scientists will always experience, which is that ideas may not always be successful. Although failure is something that we, as amateur scientists will all experience, from our mistake we learned that in the end our original idea can always be improved.

The Hell-like Campus That Stored Millions of Innocents

Filed under: Humanities — andrew.hu at 2:43 am on Monday, April 13, 2015  Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

As historians, we often question ‘what was it like to be living in a concentration camp’? Written by Neal Bascomb, the novel Nazi Hunters portrays the aftermath of ‘The Final Solution of the Jewish Question’. The story starts out in the time 1944, which was toward the end of World War II, where the author chooses a perfect plot for his novel. For this novel there are many things to explore and explain, especially on how the chosen setting of the novel builds the story’s atmosphere. Not only did this novel (which based itself upon actual historical events) have beautiful figurative language use with historical connections, it also set an ideal ‘where’ and ‘when’ aspect.

Firstly, the setting, which is otherwise known as, the ‘where’ feature of the story, is set in the city Auschwitz, Austria. An example of why this is a suitable location is: “Then it was winter. Curled into a ball on his bunk one morning, Zeev could not stop shivering,” (17 Bascomb). This extract portrays the environment to be cold and harsh. Out of all the Nazi-ruled territories, Bascomb chose Austria to be the setting of his story not only because it is historically realistic, but also because of its naturally harsh habitat, which creates an ideal environment to keep prisoners. The depressing mood is highlighted by the cold weather. The author uses pathetic fallacy here to emphasize the book’s depressing atmosphere. Another example of this perfectly chosen location is when the Nazis were moving out: “When Zeev returned to the camp that evening, bone weary and coated with coal dust, he and the other three thousand prisoners were ordered back out on a march in the snowy weather.” (19). This quote is an example of why the author builds the mood by using the setting of the story. As the innocent Jews stepped onto miles of dead walks, they did not know where they were headed. However, instead of telling us that directly, the author used figurative language and suggested it with his own language, which further improves the description of the setting. Describing the prisoners as “bone weary and coated with coal dust”, the author highlights the bad health conditions these prisoners are in. The description of being “coated with coal dust” creates an image in the readers’ minds (hopefully) of the bad conditions the prisoners are in. By using the phrase “he and the other three thousand prisoners”, the author creates the idea that he is just like the rest of the prisoners; there is nothing that differentiates him from the others. Bascomb conveys the message that in concentration camp, everyone loses their identity and becomes a prisoner, which engages us as readers because the author makes it sound like reality. All this reflects on the importance of choosing a perfect location, otherwise known as the ‘where’ aspect, and how it creates an appropriate surrounding to build up the mood of a book.

Furthermore, moving onto the ‘when’ feature of the story, which is also an important role of setting the mood for the story. The author, in my opinion, did an extraordinary job on using figurative language to make us, as readers, figure out the time period of the year. An example is: “They trudged through deep snow for two days, not knowing where they were going” (20). This extract did not tell us about the time, instead the author used figurative language to establish the mood and the ‘when’ aspect of the story. Another creative way that the author used to establish the ‘when’ aspect is by using a different tone in the novel, for example, “At 4:30 am, a siren sounded, and Zeev leapt down from his bunk. He hurried outside with the hundred other prisoners from his hut, completely exposed now to the bitter wind, and they marched off to the mines.” (18). This extract informs readers of the specific time. The earliness highlights the bad conditions the prisoners are living in. The author chose to emphasize the time because he wants to portray an image for the readers on how badly the prisoners were treated. After all the ‘when’ aspect of the story is also an important part of setting, and enriching the mood of the story.

In conclusion, the setting of this story is an important role in its exposition part of the story. The setting of this historical fiction novel made it one of the most intriguing and realistic novels I’ve read in a while. Not only did this novel perfectly describe the setting of the story, it also perfectly portrayed the life of a prisoner in the concentration camp by emphasizing the ‘where’ and ‘when’ aspects using some brilliant figurative language.

Polymers Project Day 3: Working Day

Filed under: Science — andrew.hu at 10:24 pm on Wednesday, April 8, 2015  Tagged , , ,

This is a brief caption of what we did in class.




Journal 3

After three days of progress in making iPhone case, we made significant improvements. Wanting to make a protective and unbreakable polymer case, we discovered there are different ways in making it.

Firstly, we took out the Boogers that were placed in the refrigerator and saw that it was rock solid. We weren’t able to break it easily, so that would mean when it is wrapped around the phone, it would be a very solid layer of protection. To test it’s strength, we used the microwave to heat the polymer. This is done because my group wanted to see the differences that heat gives the polymer; however, the test results came up empty, we did not discover anything new.

Furthermore, in achieving this goal, we have progressed very far for building this polymer phone case. We made clear notes about what we have done in class, and that helped us a lot in progressing steadily because when we forget something, we can just look back at the notes and continue on from there.

Additionally, we are still having trouble trying to find a way to stick let the polymer case attach onto the phone, because we haven’t gotten an accurate measurement of the dimensions of the phone yet. This is definitely something we need to work on next.

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