An Empire of Plants: People and Plants that Changed the World

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Cassell Illustrated, 2002 - Nature - 192 pages
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For centuries, from foodstuffs to industrial materials, plants have dominated trade between countries. Possession of rare spices, sweets, and narcotics could meand enviable wealth and power, so explorers ventured forth, risking death on unknown seas. Here are stories of seven plants--tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, poppies, quinine, and rubber--and how Europe's hunger for them led to the Age of Empire and turned world history upside down. Not only did these crops ensure the commercial success of America and Europe, but they became the catalyst foasr piracy, smuggling, addiction, and the slave trade: the darker side of the golden profits. A beautiful presentation of a fascinating subject.

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