Spices was once knows as delicacy for flavouring food. Merchants and especially Europeans, valued this extravagant product and were traded for as much as diamonds. The Spice Trade opened up opportunities to let people from different countries around the world to communicate with each other and sharing cultural ideas. Most importantly, the Spice Trade made it European countries gain political power by controlling numerous Asian Areas. Geography on the other hand, had major influences in several countries had special unique geographical feature. Thus, each place produces different type of goods. Arguable, that Geography and political power was a diverse change in the period of Spice Trade.
This map shows the different trade routes that different countries took. Also look closely that most merchants goes to India to trade because of the geographic area where it is surround by water which is easy to stop by the ports.
During the Spice Trade, geography played crucial role, which made the Spice Trade progressed so quickly. Since, different places in the world had different type of geographical and environment feature it means that each country grows there own types of spices. Therefore, countries from all around the world come to buy these costly good from each distinguished place where it was produced. As the primary sources in the Spice It Up states, “ Sugar… produced on a large scale in India and Southwest Asia…” (Spice It Up reading, 22). This is suggesting that in different type of places produce certain good based on the geographical and environment feature. However, geography was crucial during the time because if Spices that require a longer traveling route to one destination to another it is often sold for a higher price. For Example, England is far away to India, which takes a longer time to import the spices because the merchants had to travel through rough terrains like desserts, mountain, and rivers. After many years later, merchants and other explores used a new method and decided to travel by sea. As you can see at the map, that many of the trade routes were on water because it was faster and easier. Not only it is more convenient but it can also get to Islands that could not be traveled by going on land routes. Despite the fact that geography made trading harder for some countries but it still allowed trading to develop and which made Spice Trade flourish.
The Spice Trade wasn’t only the time where spices was traded but European countries gradually brewer cleverer and control many parts of Asia to gained political power. Since European countries observed that Asia and India was fully of rich resources and great deal of unique types of spice they started to take control of many land and trading ports in Asia. “…British government have monopolized the trade of all fine and valuable…” ( Bahandur Shah-Azamgarh Proclamation). However, not only did the British took political control of parts of Asia but the Dutch’s also of conquered places in India like Batavia. Since Batavia was a major port between Asian and Europe, the Dutch decided to rule over the Batavians during 1800. The Dutch controlled all the Spice Trade and the spices that was produced. “…Dutch India… entirely monopolized by the government…” (Observations by British Seaman, sentence 1-4). Since Batavia was full of natural resources and spices like, “…Coffee, pepper, and sugar…” (Sentence 3). The Dutch was keen on being wealthy, and gain more political control over Spice Trade, which made them decided to rule over the Batavia. However, the Dutch was eager on being rich and gain power that they mismanage Batavia, which end up as chaos. “This system has been found oppressive…natives…destroying their own plantation, preferring beggary of such serve taxation for the support of government…” (Sentence 11). In the time of the Spice Trade, the Europeans was all about controlling and gaining political power in the major trading parts of Asia. However, they did not take full respected to the natives that was living there which caused great consequences.
Map: Colony Trade Routes. Digital image. Ipekyollari. N.p., n.d. Web.
J. M. Gullick, Adventures and Encounters: Europeans in South-East Asia, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995.
Stayer, R.W. (2011). Ways of the World: A global history with sources. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
“Spice It Up.” Review. n.d.: n. pag. Print.
“Spice Trade.” Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
“British Rule in India.” – British Rule over India, British Colonialism in India, India under British Rule, British Rule History in India. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
“Spice Advice.” Spice Advice. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.