The spice trade of the Old World built empires, tempted rulers, enhanced lives and opened international trade for centuries. Egyptâs Phoenicians plied kings and pharaohs to extend their spice supply sites, while the Romans adored saffron and validated their wealth with pepper. At its peak pepper became currency in 10th century Europe, and nutmeg was worth its weight in gold. Spices finally reached America in the 18th century when the British East India Company imported its first pepper and cloves from Indonesiaâs Moluccas Islands â a site that later defined history for the Dutch and English empires.
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