|Chairman Linda Asman with Terry John and Committee member, Graham Phillips|
Terry traced the history of the lucrative spice trade – a trade which developed throughout South Asia and the Middle East by at earliest 2000 BC. The Egyptians used herbs for mummification and their demand for exotic spices and herbs helped stimulate world trade. Early uses were connected with magic, medicine, religion, tradition, and preservation. Spices were among the most demanded and expensive products available in Europe in the Middle Ages, the most common being black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. In addition to being desired by those using medieval medicine, the European elite also craved spices and herbs for the flavouring of foods. Spices were all imported from plantations in Asia and Africa, which made them expensive. From the 8th until the 15th century, the Republic of Venice had the monopoly on spice trade with the Middle East, but with the voyages of discovery came competition and the discovery of new herbs and spices.