Monday, September 13, 2021

Modern history of clove

The use of clove as a spice reached Europe around the 4th century A.D., when commercial trading really started with the Arabs, who in turn acquired these dried and fragrant buds from the cultures to the East in Asia.

On returning to Spain in 1522, the Victoria, the first boat to circumnavigate the globe, carried in its hold a cargo of spices that included cloves. The Portuguese held the trading monopoly for cloves until they were driven out of the Maluku Islands by the Dutch at the beginning of the 17th century.

During the late Middle Ages, cloves were used in Europe to preserve, flavor, and garnish food. Clove cultivation was almost entirely confined to Indonesia, and in the early 17th century the Dutch eradicated cloves on all islands except Amboina and Ternate in order to create scarcity and sustain high prices.

The Dutch monopoly of the spice was broken in the latter half of the 18th century, when the French managed to cultivate the tree on their colonized islands in Asia. The islands of Zanzibar, which belong to present day Tanzania, in eastern Africa has been a major producer of cloves for many decades.

Clove oil was used medicinally in France for the first time in 1640, as a remedy for treating toothache and was documented in ‘Practice of Physic’.

Clove was established in Sri Lanka in 1796 A.D., before the arrival of the British. In Britain, cloves were worth at least their weight in gold, due to their high importing price in 17th and 18th centuries. In India East India Company introduced clove in 1800 A.D.

From the 1920-30s, Madagascar became one of the major producers and exporters of cloves. At the same time, a secondary product emerged, clove essential oil, which rapidly elbowed its way onto the world market.
Modern history of clove

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