Nutty for Nutmeg

Nutty for Nutmeg

How a humble spice played a key role in capitalism—and the history of the United States.


5 - 12


Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Social Studies, Economics, World History

National Geographic Channel

Nutmeg is a spice made from the seeds of a tropical evergreen tree, Myristica. Today, nutmeg is grown and produced in tropical locations from Indonesia to the West Indies. In the 1600s, however, the nutmeg tree only grew in Indonesia’s Banda Islands.

Plot the route of 17th-century merchants with our geo-tour of the nutmeg trade, then watch our video, from the National Geographic Channel’s series “Eat: The Story of Food.” Learn how Dutch traders ruthlessly controlled the nutmeg trade—and helped shape the American cultural landscape in the process. Note: Be sure to click the “i” on every bookmark for important informational text in the geo-tour!

Media Credits

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National Geographic Society
Jessica Shea, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

September 27, 2022

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