An exciting spice from the evergreen nutmeg tree. The home of nutmeg is the Indonesian Banda Islands, also known as the Spice Islands. The fruits of the tree contain two spices: nutmeg and mace. Since the 16th century, nutmeg is one of the most precious spices in the world.
Although nutmeg nuts were regularly available in Europe from the 13th century onwards, it was not until the 16th century that the nutmeg trade became really important, when Portuguese ships sailed to India and even further, to the famous Spice Islands (Moluccas, today the province of Maluku in East Indonesia).
In the 17th century, the Dutch were able to achieve a complete nutmeg monopoly, similar to that of cloves, which was easily maintained due to the remoteness of the Banda Islands, the only natural occurrence of the nutmeg tree. The natives were unwilling to cooperate with the colonial administration under Governor General Jan Pieterszoon Coen and were almost exterminated.
Even in the Middle Ages, the price for a kilo of nutmegs was still a cow or 6 sheep.