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In addition to being desired by those using medieval medicine, the European elite also craved spices in the Middle Ages.An example of the European aristocracy's demand for spice comes from the King of Aragon, who invested substantial resources into bringing back spices to Spain in the 12th century.A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food.Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. This may explain why spices are more commonly used in warmer climates, which have more infectious diseases, and why the use of spices is prominent in meat, which is particularly susceptible to spoiling.With the discovery of the New World came new spices, including allspice, chili peppers, vanilla, and chocolate.This development kept the spice trade, with America as a late comer with its new seasonings, profitable well into the 19th century.and Middle East by at earliest 2000 BCE with cinnamon and black pepper, and in East Asia with herbs and pepper.
Indonesian merchants traveled around China, India, the Middle East, and the east coast of Africa.The most important discovery prior to the European spice trade were the monsoon winds (40 CE).Sailing from Eastern spice cultivators to Western European consumers gradually replaced the land-locked spice routes once facilitated by the Middle East Arab caravans.Since becoming the viceroy of the Indies, he took Goa in India in 1510, and Malacca on the Malay peninsula in 1511.The Portuguese could now trade directly with Siam, China, and the Maluku Islands.
The military prowess of Afonso de Albuquerque (1453–1515) allowed the Portuguese to take control of the sea routes to India.