Cloves and global politics

Related: [In Progress] ParetotopiaPinker on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The treaty of Zaragoza was a 1529 follow-up to the Treaty of Tordesillas. In Tordesillas, Spain and Portugal drew a line to divide the Western hemisphere. West of an arbitrary  meridian: Spanish domain. East: Portuguese domain.

(Of course, nobody else had a say in this division.)

In 1529, the Portuguese discovered the Moluccas, islands right to the West of New Guinea. The Spanish wanted the Moluccas too, so they resorted to claiming that Tordesillas divided the whole Earth into two equal hemispheres

Initially, the line of demarcation did not encircle the Earth. Instead, Spain and Portugal could conquer any new lands they were the first to discover, Spain to the west and Portugal to the east, even if they passed each other on the other side of the globe.[24] But Portugal’s discovery of the highly valued Moluccas in 1512 caused Spain to argue in 1518 that the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the Earth into two equal hemispheres.

So, what made the Moluccas so valuable that they were worth reconsidering the world order agreed by the Spanish and the Portuguese?

Maluku Islands en.png

The Moluccas […] were […] the only place on Earth where cloves grew, […]. Cloves were so prized by Europeans for their medicinal uses that they were worth their weight in gold.[31][32]

The punchline?

Though long-used in traditional medicine, there is little evidence that clove oil containing eugenol is effective for toothache pain or other types of pain.Wikipedia

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