Lead: Beginning in the early 1600s, the lure of profits from spices attracted European trading companies to the exotic lands of the East Indies.  

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The drive to acquire the spices from these islands and other riches from the Orient, had gripped the European imagination since Medieval times and had motivated such navigators and explorers as Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan. Spices such as cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon were highly valued for food preservation, medicinal purposes, and, of course, as ways of enhancing the flavor of food and drink. East India Companies were trading companies formed in Western Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to promote trade, primarily in spices. They became the vanguard of the colonial enterprise. Their destination: the 13,000 islands of the eastern Indonesian archipelago (commonly called the Spice Islands), situated near the Equator. Today they are known as the Moluccas.

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