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Die goldene Frucht Ostindiens – Eine Warengeschichte der Muskatgewürze

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Author(s): Moritz Herrmann

Journal: Skriptum : Studentische Onlinezeitschrift für Geschichte und Geschichtsdidaktik
ISSN 2192-4457

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 30;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Nutmeg | Trade | Indonesia | Spices

ABSTRACT
Moritz Herrmann writes about a different aspect of history: „Die goldene Frucht Ostindiens. Eine Warengeschichte der Muskatnuss.“ (The Golden Fruit of East-India: The History of the Nutmeg Trade). The story ranges from the discovery of nutmeg, its way to Europe and its significance in early modern times.The actual reason for the numerous voyages of discovery during the 15th and 16th century was the acquisition of trade items and exotic spices. Nutmeg trees only grew on a small island group in the east of what is nowadays known as Indonesia. Therefore, nutmeg became a rare trade item. Out of a cultural historical viewpoint, the reader is introduced to the nutmeg tree and its economical life conditions. The arduous production of the spice and its manifold use as a luxury foodstuff and as a medicine are also depicted. A subsequent in-depth analysis of the European trade relations shows the numerous conflicts of interest. The problematic relationship between the indigenous population and the European traders are also considered. At the end of the 16th century, the Portuguese domination in the high-sea spice trade was challenged by Britain and the Netherlands. Especially the Netherlands played a crucial role in this process, as they had a prosperous monopoly on the nutmeg trade until 1810.The historical importance of nutmeg spices not only had an impact on international trade and worldwide political relations, but also can be regarded as an example of European early capitalism as well as an example for the increasing colonialisation of indigenous people. Moritz Herrmann achieves the goal of showing the far-reaching dimensions of the inconspicuous little nut, which nowadays can be found in almost every German household.
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