Monday, February 16, 2009

Trade Routes

Woodcutting of the formation of the Hanseatic League, around 1241 (left). Below, a map of the trading route of the Hanseatic League.

The Hanseatic league was a collection of traders, merchants and guilds, who traded goods and bartered and negotiated for trade routes, terrifs, entrance into new ports and countries, and so forth. My ancestor on one side of the family, the Stolterfohts, were members of the Hanseatic League.

ABOUT THOSE THINGS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED ... where they come from and how we get them.
How to Attract a Man? Well, the perfume makers would have you believe it's in the scent you wear. And the scent that is the greatest aphrodisiac for males is ...?

Fragrances began with frankinscense and myrrh, and spices, which were not available all over the world. As traders brought them to new places they were immediately desired (like silk from China) and the demand was created. The early traders and merchants then worked to meet this demand, and to make money in the process. Some of the early spices and herbs may also have been, or have been considered, medicinal or aphrodisiacal.

At first only the very rich could afford these wonderful things.

Ever wonder where that cinnamon on your Cinnabon comes from? The cinnamon on the top of your Tiramisu ... your cinnamon toast ... the thing that makes apple pie apple pie ... the scent that is said to be the greatest turnon for men .. ?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations this is the source of World Spice Production in tons, 2003–2004, data from FAOSTAT:

India 1 600 000 86%
China 66 000 4%
Bangladesh 48 000 3%
Pakistan 45 300 2%
Turkey 33 000 2%
Nepal 15 500 1%
Other countries 60 900 3%
Total 1 868 700 100%

In the early days, trade routes were established to make money. Asia for instance had spices and knew that Europe wanted them. The way they got from place to place was called a trade route. Some were by land, others were by sea.

Successful trade required many talents. One of them was knowing how to get along, negotiating with other parties, and petitioning the rules of the territories they wanted to enter. Many trade negotiations, treaties and agreements were formed that precluded war.
According to wikipedia:

Hansa societies worked to remove restrictions to trade for their members. For example, the merchants of the Cologne Hansa convinced Henry II of England to free them (1157) from all tolls at London and allowed them to trade at fairs throughout England.

Lübeck was a key location. On the Baltic, it provided trade access for to Scandinavia and Kiev Rus, which put it in direct competition with the Scandinavians who at that time controlled most of the Baltic trade routes. They achieved a treaty - or agreement - with the Visby Hansa which put an end to cthe ompetition. In the same agreement, the Lübeck merchants gained access to the inland Russian port of Novgorod, where they built a trading post or Kontor. Other such alliances formed throughout the Holy Roman Empire. ... The League primarily traded timber, furs, resin (or tar), flax, honey, wheat, and rye from the east to Flanders and England with cloth (and, increasingly, manufactured goods) going in the other direction. Metal ore (principally copper and iron) and herring came southwards from Sweden.

The precious cinnamon? The spice trade drove the world economy from the late Middle Ages well into modern times. Modern times? It's probably never occurred to you ... but how would you like to go without cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar?? In fact, the early trade routes were also called Incense Routes.

From wikipedia:

Spices such as cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, ginger, and turmeric were known, and used for commerce, in the Eastern World well into antiquity. These spices found their way into the Middle East before the beginning of the Common Era, where the true sources of these spices was withheld by the traders, and associated with fantastic tales. The Egyptians had traded in the Red Sea, importing spices from the "Land of Punt" and from Arabia. Luxury goods traded along the Incense Route included Indian spices, ebony, silk and fine textiles.

The spice trade was associated with overland routes early on but maritime routes proved to be the factor which helped this trade grow. The Ptolemaic dynasty had eveloped trade with India using the Red Sea ports. With the establishment of Roman Egypt, the Romans further developed the already existing trade. As early as 80 BC, Alexandria became the dominant trading center for Indian spices entering the Greco-Roman world. Indian ships sailed to Egypt. The thriving maritime routes of Southern Asia were not under the control of a single power, but through various systems eastern spices were brought to the major spice trading port of Calicut in India.

Overland routes helped the spice trade initially, but maritime trade routes led to tremendous growth in commercial activities. During the high and late medieval periods Muslim traders dominated maritime spice trading routes throughout the Indian Ocean ... shipping spices from trading emporiums in India westward to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, from which overland routes led to Europe.

The trade was transformed by the European Age of Discovery, during which spice trade became an influential activity for European traders.

The discovery of the American continent was driven by the spice trade. The United East India Company forged alliance with the principal producers of cloves and nutmeg. The growing competition led to rival nations resorting to military means for control of the spice trade.
Early uses ( also included medicinal, magical, symbolic, for washing, for masking bad odors, and for repelling insects:
The statuesque herb angelica has been used in pagan and Christian festivals for centuries. It is indigenous to cold northern Europe, and its name is derived from a legend in which an angel appears to a monk in a dream and tells him this plant can cure the plague. It was also believed that angelica protected a person carrying it against witches and their spells. Other sweet herbs such as lavender and rosemary sweetened washing water to scent clothes and, strewed around rooms, repelled insects and masked unpleasant smells.
So, next time your smell the cinnamon bun as you drive by Whataburger, think of .. a world of things. The scent comes from the essential oils - bet you use this too. And black pepper, we haven't metioned that. It's a spice. One I could't live without. lists the origin of spices and herbs -- nutmeg (Indonesia), ginger (Asia), cloves (Mollucas), cinnamon (Sri Lanka), allspice (West Indies), . Not a one is grow on the North American continent.
And perhaps the most popular (and under-noticed of all) >> VANILLA. Ta da! Some vanilla is grown in Florida.

Add to My Yahoo!

No comments: