He Who Controls the Spice

Beyond the profits from spices, the completion of Magellan’s voyage finally gave the Spanish a water route to the Spice Islands, if they wanted it. In terms of prestige and political might, the achievement was the Renaissance equivalent of winning the space race—a competition between the world’s two great maritime superpowers, Spain and Portugal, for territory of vital economic and political importance. In a sudden reversal of the balance of power, Spain was poised to control the spice trade and, by extension, global commerce.

Over the Edge of the World, Laurence Bergreen