Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History

Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Or, The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History

Book - 2000
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago--remote, tranquil, and now largely ignored. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, Run's harvest of nutmeg turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a fierce and bloody battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and a small band of ragtag British adventurers led by the intrepid Nathaniel Courthope . The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular deals in history: Britain ceded Run to Holland, but in return was given another small island, Manhattan.A brilliant adventure story of unthinkable hardship and savagery, the navigation of uncharted waters, and the exploitation of new worlds, Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a remarkable chapter in the history of the colonial powers.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, c2000.
ISBN: 9780140292602
Characteristics: xi, 388 p. :,ill., maps ;,20 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 16, 2019

A truly fantastic story in both senses of the word. Fantastic as in nearly unbelievable what people do for money and power and the evil they do to each other, and fantastic in the sense of a wonderful, compelling and amazing story. This is a must read for anyone interested in world history and some of the threads and linkages that bind one area and history onto a completely different area and history. In learning about the early European spice-trade we also learn about the great wars in Europe, we learn that nearly all the great "explorers" were really just looking for shortcuts to the spice islands and we learn why in America we speak English today instead of Dutch. This has made my list of top-ten great books of all time.

IndyPL_SteveB Apr 17, 2019

A really interesting non-fiction about the voyages to the East Indies for spices and the wars and intrigues between The Netherlands and Great Britain to see who would control the region. It is also a book with an incredibly misleading title. Milton covers about 120 years from 1550 to 1667, with fascinating summaries of the immense human bravery – and stupidity – which caused the loss of hundreds of ships and thousands of men in voyages that could take years to complete. All of this was over the world supply of black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.

The book’s title refers to Nathaniel Courthope, an English ship captain who found himself in charge of the tiny but critical island of Run in the Banda Islands for several years while the nearby Dutch tried to force him out. This is a very tiny part of the history and Milton’s attempt to inflate the name of Nathaniel Courthope to world fame would seem to be without much merit. But the overall story of the spice wars is fascinating.

Sep 24, 2013

This is a history book with the narrative of a novel. It also has maps. If you are a nerd like me, you will love it!

Jan 18, 2012

Giles Milton is an excellent researcher with a knack for writing his books as they were novels. This book is exciting, with gripping tales of the spice trade. Highly recommend.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top