A Short History of Spice Trading

Spices and herbs have played a dramatic role in the development of Western civilization. Spices today are plentiful and are used mostly as flavorings. However, in ancient and medieval times, they were rare and precious products, used for medicine, perfume, incense, and flavoring.


3000 BC to 200 BC
Arabs traded spices and herbs among early civilizations.


200 BC to 1200
The Romans control the trade.


1200 to 1500
Europeans explore passages to the East Indies.


The 15th to the 17th Centuries
Wars for control of the spice trade break out.


The 16th to the 18th Century
English exploration begins.


The 17th to the 20th Century
Americans enter the spice trade.

        Spice Bibliography