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Home Page | Spice Village Tour

In the 19th Century, the islands of Zanzibar received a major boost in the spice trade with the Omani introduction of cloves. Zanzibar had a near monopoly on the world trade for a long time and despite the emphasis on the wealth gained from the sale of slaves and ivory, the clove industry was the real foundation of the golden age of Zanzibar. This was however, not the climax of the spice trade, it was only the beginning.

For centuries, there had been introductions and exploitations of different forms of spices between the Zanzibaris and the other civilizations of the Indian Ocean basin.

Spices were traded along this coast with the Egyptian Fatmid and Mamiukian dynasties and later with the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The industry provided a source of the wealth and increased trade and economic growth of the middle east in the middle ages.

The small spice plots owned by individual farmers are a relatively new phenomenon here. Previously, large plantations were worked by slaves.

The individual spice farmer is the heir of his slave forefathers.
An interesting route for the spice tour begins at the Anglican Cathedral which was constructed to commemorate the end of slavery in East Africa.

The monuments and relics for the past are deeply moving and the building itself is the physical commemoration of one of the greater moments in human history.

To pass from this Cathedral through the spice farms and on to the slave caves at Mwangapani, where hundreds of people were packed into a horrible hole to await death or a lifetime of slavery, is a Journey from our finest ideals back to our darkest, cruelest depths.

A side tour, which is very rarely taken, is a trip to Grave Island. The cemetery is dedicated to those people who lost their lives fighting against the slave trade. We hope that someone will one day write a book, based on the personal tragedies of the men who lost their lives in that fight.


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