‘A magnificent piece of popular history.’ Independent on Sunday.
ON CHRISTMAS DAY, 1616, an English adventurer, Nathaniel Courthope, stepped ashore on a remote island in the East Indies on a most secret and dangerous mission. He had to persuade the head-hunting islanders of Run to grant a monopoly to England over their nutmeg, a fabulously valuable spice in Europe.
The welcome he received infuriated the Dutch, who were determined to seize control of the world’s nutmeg supply.
For five years, Courthope and his half-starved band of thirty men were besieged by a force one hundred times greater. His heroism set in motion the events that led to the founding of the greatest city on earth.
Drawn from original letters, journals and personal diaries, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg sheds light on an extraordinary and little-episode in world history.
By Giles Milton