History of Spices
Invention of Spices
There is a story behind the early invention of spices unintentionally by hunters. They have gathered meat and wrapped them up in the leaves of bushes in the forest accidentally discovering that this movement has enhanced the taste of the meat. They kept observing certain plants as nuts, seeds, fruits, roots and husks over the years which can be used to taste the food, to keep food fresh, cover up the unpleasant tastes of the food by flavoring them.
Many cultures in ancient times have treated sicknesses with these magical spices and herbal remedies.
Gradually spices became in demand as a valuable element that can be used mainly for food preparation, medicine, cosmetics, perfume production & religious rituals.
When spices became a valuable item and gained more demand amongst the society it has been one of the significant material in the trade history in ancient and medieval times.
Early Egyptians used various kinds of spices to prepare food, cosmetics and for embalming their dead. Then the use of spices spread throughout the Middle East and then via Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
Spices were used as a form of payment. Mostly cinnamon, cloves and pepper has been commonly used as a monetary source mainly in 06th to 12th Century. Asian spices were costly in Europe and generally used by the wealthy people which is an evidence to prove how much spices were valued around the world by people. They were valued such as gold and gems during the Middle Ages.
Arabians controlled the spice trade for almost 5000 years as a middlemen. They purposely kept the source of their products as a secret intentionally being the monopoly in the trade until European explorers discovered a sea route to the new lands in East.
Later on European nations began to struggle amongst them in a competition to take over the control of the spice trade was the driving force resulting the colonization of Sri Lanka by Portuguese, Dutch and English who established monopolies of spices.
Almost all the trade routes of the world has passed through Sri Lanka the tropical island mainly due to spice trade since 14th Century.
Sri Lanka is well known all over the world for its rare and high quality spices and herbs. Since long ago in ancient times, it has maintained a great relationship with Greeks, Romans, Arabs and with many other nations in the spice trade which has been the biggest trade in the world.
Country was known as “Ceylon” until 1972. Ceylon Spices are valued highly and recognized by the whole world due to its own uniqueness by the taste, tenacious aroma & pure natural health benefits. Over 50% of Sri Lankan agricultural exports consist of spices and herbs.
The Portuguese, Dutch and English colonization of Sri Lanka began because they found the country is very attractive among the other Asian countries for the reason they wanted to have the power to control the spice trade.
For all the spice enthusiast from every corner in the globe, Sri Lankan spices means the finest ingredients gifted by nature.