The Spice Ports

Mapping the Origins of the Global Sea Trade

Nick Nugent

Globalisation became possible once sailors could master the winds and the sea and develop the skills of ship-building and navigation. Traders then took advantage of sea routes to seek out exotic spices and other commodities, as long distance trading and empire building began. The courage and initiative of these early entrepreneurs embody ideas and attitudes that still impress us today.

Lessons from both history and geography combine in this fascinating study of the spice ports, lavishly illustrated with antique maps and city views.

The Spice Ports is not just about history and geography. Each port-based chapter provides a context for cultural learning—in literature, architecture, and science. We explore the science of Copernicus and Galileo; trace the botanical studies of Darwin, Wallace, Rumphius, and da Orta; follow the pioneering voyages of Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magel­lan and map-making of Ptolemy and Linschoten among oth­ers. Also more fascinating developments, like word origins, naval technology, and early economic concepts, and the whole intertwining breadth of the history of ideas. Specific reference is also made to the development of colonialization and the role played by the contemporary growth of slavery in the creation of networks of global seaborne trade.

There are 12 contrasting chapters of around 8000 words each spanning the continents, from Venice to Batavia (modern Ja­karta), Lisbon to Malacca, London to Bombay (now Mumbai), as well as New York, Cape Town, and Singapore, which will attract readers around the globe.

Cloth: $50 | E-book: $49.95
ISBN-13: 9781684582440
Pages: 288 | Size: 8.5 in. x 11 in.
Date Published: September 27, 2024

About the Author

Nick Nugent

Nicholas Nugent has 40 years’ experience researching and reporting for BBC World Service. He is author of a biography of Rajiv Gandhi (BBC Books), a book about post-war Vietnam and continuing journalism. His personal collection of early maps and views supports the narrative.

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