Cinnamon Ships

Eli Whitney Museum

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Trading Cultures

Cinnamon Ships


2019 Summer Program

Cinnamon. You could order a pound of the spice today and a massive network of communication and transport links would bring it halfway round the world and deliver it day after tomorrow. 2000 years ago, an intricate network of intrepid trade ships brought the spice brought the spice from southeast Asia to ruling families in Greece…in just about a year.

Indonesian trade ships brought cinnamon around the horn of India. Somali Beden carried the cargo across the Indian Ocean to the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea. After a land portage, Nile River Boats ferried the treasure to Alexandria. Greek Merchant ships transported it across the Mediterranean Ocean to Athens. There, some cinnamon would be offered as a tribute to the gods and some would be savored in the year's most important feast.

Build a network of unique trading ships, each suited to specific winds and waters. Construct crews who knew their regions well and enough languages to barter with others. Construct the beads and other treasures that help us map this ancient trade. Celebrate trade's power to exchange wealth, to enrich culture, and to teach people to work together.

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