THE INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO
From the rise of the Srivijaya and Majapahit Empire
and the trading riches of Constantinople
and Venice, to linking of Europe and Asia by ocean route, the discovery of the American continent and the first
circumnavigation of the globe, Indonesian spices have
shaped the world we know
today. Select the buttons below to reveal key moments on our interactive spice history map:
The Hindu-Buddhist kingdom of Srivijaya was the first unified kingdom to rule and dominate much of the Indonesian archipelago. From its powerbase in Palembang in Sumatra, the maritime kingdom controlled the Malacca Strait and the lucrative spice trade with the China and India from the 7th to the 13th century.
With the declining influence of the Srivijayan Kingdom came the rise of the Majapahit Empire, founded in 1293 after the defeat of the Melayu Kingdom and fighting off a Mongol invasion. At its peak, under the ruler Hayam Wuruk (1350-89), the Empire expanded across Java and gained control over much of present-day Indonesia as well as the Malay peninsula through military might.
MEDIEVAL TRADING ROUTES
Until the late 15th century Indonesian spices made their way to Europe via China, India, the Red Sea and the Levant facilitated by Arab traders and the Ottoman Empire allowing the merchants of Constantinople and Venice to amass vast fortunes. This all changed in the European Age of Discovery during which ground-breaking new maritime routes were established, spearheaded by Vasco da Gama in 1498.
VASCO DA GAMA
After a journey of almost a year and Vasco da Gama arrives in Calicut, India in May of 1498. He is the first European to establish a sea route to India and thereby connecting the West with the Orient. In 1511, the Portuguese conquer the Sultanate of Malacca and take control of the strategically important Malacca Strait before sailing east and establishing direct trade links with the Indonesian Spice Islands.
RAW FOREST HONEY
Raw unprocessed wild forest honey from the giant ‘Apis Dorsata’ bee, sustainably harvested by the indigenous Samawa communities in the Batudulang Highlands of Sumbawa, Indonesia.
FROM BATU AND MALANG, EAST JAVA
Malang, located between Mt Arjuna and the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, is Java's fruit capital. The cold mountain air and clean water supports the cultivation of a large variety of fruit and vegetable.
FROM AMDED, EAST BALI
Our salt farmers on the east cost of Bali are harvesting pure sea salt using traditional methods that have been applied for hundreds of years. The mineral rich sea salt is handcrafted in black volcanic sand beds and coconut tree logs resulting in a delicate premium table salt.
RAW FOREST HONEY
Raw unprocessed forest honey from the giant ‘Apis Dorsata’ bee, sustainably harvested by the indigenous Melayu and Mandahiling communities in the Tesso Nilo National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia. The traditional way of harvesting wild forest honey supports the indigenous communities and helps protect the rainforests of Indonesia.
FROM MOUNT MERAPI, CENTRAL JAVA
A collective of small farmers in the valley between Mount Merapi and Mount Merabu is cultivating premier organic rice for us. The farmers are using fresh mountain spring water and certified organic farming methods to grow high quality Pandan Wangi, Brown, Red and Black Rice.
RAW FOREST HONEY
Raw unprocessed forest honey from the giant ‘Apis Dorsata’ bee, sustainably harvested by the indigenous Tolaki communities in the mountain forests along the Konaweha River in Sulawesi, Indonesia.