Sri Lanka has been known for its high quality spices for centuries, even before the island was ever known as Sri Lanka. The geography, location and local climate have culminated in the abundance of a rich, rare blend of spices that is a legacy in itself. The various applications of these spices in local cuisine, medicine, etc., throughout history, have virtually ingrained them into the Sri Lankan heritage.
Sri Lanka is a natural wonder. It was called Paradise Island by ancient sea farers Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, Ptolemy and many other European, Arabian, Asian and Far East Traveler. The strategic location of the Island gives it a unique tropical climatic condition. It is blessed with sunshine throughout the year, varying weather and wind patterns, a vast network of rivers and streams that traverse the length and breadth of the country, hundreds of waterfalls and a magnificent tropical rain forest which creates a lush green environment. All these natural attributes makes it the ideal environment for spice growing, where every spices abounds in rich natural fragrance, strong flavor and natural goodness. Today Ceylon Cinnamon is known world over as the finest in the world.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was known to have traded in Spices from as far back as the 8th century when the Arab Traders set foot on the island and then later the Europeans, when they began trading in Sri Lanka’s exotic spices. The country’s spices are also known to have played a major role in taking Sri Lanka to the world when navigators like Vasco de Gama visited India and Sri Lanka, the paradise isle in the east looking for this costly commodity. In the 16th century the Portuguese replaced the Arabs in the spice trade. Sri Lanka became a centre of the spice trade between the East and the West when the first trading posts were set up. The Dutch followed them in the 18th century and they did much to improve spice cultivation in the country by creating spice gardens for commercial purposes, yet they were not able to control the entire country. It was the British who were able to take control of the entire island in1802. They developed the spice gardens further in order to process and export spices such as Cinnamon, Cloves Pepper, Nutmeg, Mace and Ginger. However Cinnamon remained historically the most important spice; the botanical name Cinnamomum Zeylanicum bearing testimony to this wonder spice that is endemic to Sri Lanka.