Cloves and nutmeg are indigenous to the Spice Islands of Eastern Indonesia; this book tells of the many uses of these exotic spices and the history of their trade over a period of more than 2,000 years.
It follows the Silk Road across Central Asia and the Spice Route over the Indian Ocean and describes how the spice trade into Europe came to be dominated by Middle Eastern and Venetian merchants.
Backed by the Crowns of Portugal and Spain, explorers such as Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan dreamt of capturing this trade by sailing directly to the Spice Islands, driving the maritime exploration of the world known as ‘The Age of Discovery’.
Much of the story is told through the lives of these historical characters, as well as Sir Francis Drake, Jan Pieterzoom Coen, Pierre Poivre, and others who are lesser known but equally important.
The story also revolves around the intense rivalry between the Sultans of Ternate and Tidore and their relationship with the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English, who at different times occupied the Spice Islands.
The book follows the growth of the Dutch and English East India Companies which were founded to proﬁt from the spice trade and their efforts to monopolize that trade. It ﬁnishes as the Dutch East India Company goes into bankruptcy and the once splendid Sultanates sink into obscurity.
About the author – Ian Burnet has spent thirty years, living, working and travelling in Indonesia and is fascinated by the rich history and diverse cultures of the archipelago. His ﬁrst book, Spice Islands, tells the 2000 year history of the spice trade from the Moluccas of Eastern Indonesia through China, India and the Middle East until the spices reached Europe. His second book, East Indies, begins in the port city of Malacca, and tells the story of the 200 year struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for trade supremacy in the Eastern Seas. It follows the rise of the world’s ﬁrst joint stock and multinational trading companies and their conversion to huge colonial states ruling over millions of people in Indonesia, India and Malaya. Ian lives with his family in Sydney, Australia, and is currently researching another book on Indonesia’s fascinating history.