October 24 @ 7:00 p.m.
TOM RITCHIE SPEAKER SERIES - THE AGE OF EXPLORATION: IN SEARCH OF SPICES
Tom Ritchie will continue his series of maritime lectures at the VALERIE THEATER with an illustrated, entertaining, and informative talk entitled The Age of Exploration: in Search of Spices. This is one of the subjects in history that most interests him and he is going to share with us an amazing story. We all know about the great Renaissance European explorers, such as Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Sebastian Cabot, Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, etc. They were eager to brave the unknown, risk life and limb, and make discoveries in order to learn and add to mankind’s knowledge of the world, right? Well, not exactly…they were sponsored by greedy, competitive, and power-hungry monarchies and business interests who wanted to gain control of the lucrative spice trade, which at the time was controlled by Arab traders who brought spices to Europe demanding incredibly high prices. Remember, during the time before refrigeration, spices, with their antibiotic properties and powerful overwhelming flavors, were of great importance and even necessity to preserve and render many foods palatable. The medieval Spice Trade was the stimulus for the Age of Exploration, which came about quite suddenly with the development of sailing ships in the 15th century known as Caravels, which could travel vast distances without needing to make landfall. The importance of spices cannot be overrated in their role in the development of modern civilization. As usual, there will be many related artifacts and objects of interest on display.
Tom Ritchie is a long-time expedition leader with the adventure travel company Lindblad Expeditions, in association with the National Geographic Society. He has travelled extensively around the world, and especially enjoys exploring the famed Spice Islands of modern-day Indonesia.