Kerala history is closely linked with its commerce, which in turn was wholly dependent until recent times on its spice trade. Kerala was known for its spices and travellers from around the world visited to trade and to gain control over this rich land. The first travellers were the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs and the Chinese; later-day traders included the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British. It is believed that the spice trade dates back to three thousand years and was responsible for Vasco da Gama’s quest for the Indian subcontinent, and its discovery via a sea route. Pepper still remains the king of Kerala’s spices , but the state also has a very rich produce in cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, ginger and turmeric; it has a rich cultivation of cashew nuts, and is India’s native state for coconut!
As in the past, the state continues to be the spice capital of the world. Visitors to Kerala, especially the tourists, prefer to see for themselves how the different spices are grown, harvested, processed and packed.