Plant native to Central America and the West Indies. It has the combined flavor of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, giving it its name.
Navigation instrument used to measure the altitude of the stars.
The front of a ship or boat.
Christopher Columbus
Conceived a plan to sail WEST in order to reach the EAST.
One of the oldest recorded spices, it was in use in 3000 B.C. Mesopotamia. It is the inner bark of an evergreen tree, which is stripped and the dried in the sun. It is used as a seasoning, perfume, preservative.
Flower of a tree picked before it opens and dried in the sun. It had medicinal value because it can numb skin and be used for tooth aches. It was used to make an air freshener, known as a pomander.
Chocolate. Columbus knew the natives used the bean as money. It was not until Cortez brought back sacks from the Aztec civilization that the Spanish learned how to make chocolate.
Originally from Ethiopia, Africa, these beans are fermented, dried, and roasted. The beverage was created by people on the Arabian Peninsula.
American crop that would become very important in feeding farm animals back in Europe.
Indicates magnetic north.
T-shaped navigational instrument invented about 1500 CE.
Dead reckoning
A method of water navigation using oral traditions, estimates of speed, non-celestial instruments, and a feel for the sea, also known as deductive reasoning.
To be the first to find out, or see something.
The imaginary line running east/west around the world midway between the North and South Poles. The equator divides the earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
To travel in a region that was previously unknown or little known in order to learn about its natural features and inhabitants.
Popular trading item in the Americas.
This plant root has a hot (spicy) sensation. We see it fresh in markets but explorers shipped it dried or crystallized. It is the underground stem of a plant originally from China.
The northern or southern half of the earth as divided by the equator or the eastern or western half as divided by a meridian.
Also called a sandglass, it kept track of time on board a ship so that speed, distance, and work shifts could be measured.
The main part of a ship or boat: the deck, sides, and bottom of a ship or boat.
The distance north or south of the equator, expressed in degrees (0-90). On a map or globe, latitude lines are drawn running east and west.
The distance east or west of the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, England, expressed in degrees (0-180). On a map or globe, longitude lines are drawn running north and south.
A tall upright post or other structure on a ship or boat on sailing vessels to carry sails and rigging.
Marco Polo
One of the first Europeans to visit the lands of Kublai Khan, in China.
The art of guiding a vessel from place to place safely.
An East Indies spice introduced to the west by Arab traders. It is the seed of a fruit. It is used to flavor wine and food, and was so popular it became very expensive in the 14th Century.
Oldest spice known to man, and in the past one of the most valuable. The spice is made from ripened berries of a climbing shrub, dried in the sun. It originated in Eastern Asia.
Prime Meridian
An imaginary line connecting the North and South Poles which runs through Greenwich, England.
Navigational instrument used to measure the height of a celestial body above the horizon. Its name means one quarter of a circle.
A large piece of strong cloth that is connected to a ship or boat and that is used to catch the wind that moves the ship or boat through the water.
Originally from Mali, was used to draw moisture out of meat to preserve the food in times before refrigeration.
China held the secret for turning caterpillar cocoons into this fabric.
The back of a ship or boat.
First brought back from China by Marco Polo. It was shipped and sold in blocks.
American plant, Columbus described the natives “drinking smoke.”
Traverse board
Early way to calculate speed and distance covered by a ship over the course of a four hour work shift, so sailors would be aware of changing winds and other factors.
Vanilla Bean
A spice used to make chocolate by the Aztecs and Mayan in what is now Mexico. It is the seed-pod or bean of an orchid plant. Many people identify its smell with chocolate because it is used in milk chocolate.