Mace is a spice derived from the reddish seed covering of the nutmeg seed. Its flavor is similar to that of nutmeg but more delicate; it is used to flavor baked goods, meat, fish, vegetables and in preserving and pickling.
In the context of history, mace has had a significant impact on trade and economics. It originated in the Banda Islands of Indonesia, where it was, and still is, harvested. During the Middle Ages, mace was used as a medicine and a preservative, and it was highly valued in European markets. This demand led to the spice trade, which became a major economic force and was one of the reasons for the European exploration of the world.
The Dutch, in particular, were keen to control the trade of mace and nutmeg. In the 17th century, they managed to monopolize the trade by restricting the cultivation of nutmeg trees to the islands they controlled. This monopoly lasted until the British managed to smuggle nutmeg trees to their own colonies, which allowed for more widespread cultivation and eventually led to a decrease in the price of mace.
Today, mace is still used around the world as a spice, though it is not as economically significant as it once was. It is valued for its culinary uses and can be found in many spice blends, including garam masala and curry powders. The production and trade of mace have become more diversified, with several countries, including Indonesia, Grenada, and India, growing the spice.