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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pictorial Tea Tour .......... ELIZABETH I (c.1600)

Elizabeth I
The National Portrait Gallery, London

As far as English tea history is involved, I like to begin with a nod to Elizabeth I who, in 1600, founded The John Company (later to become known as The East India Company) to challenge the Dutch-Portuguese monopoly of the East Indian spice trade. The spice trade was a monopoly of Spain and Portugal until the defeat of the Spanish Armada by England gave the English the chance to break it. And break it they did.

In 1612, The Company established trading posts and began trading in cottons, silks, and indigo. It would not be long before it became the biggest and mightiest monopoly in any commodity that the world has ever known. That commidity? Tea.

(Purchase the Elizabeth I print here)


Jason Witt said...

The tea monopoly of the East India Company was the biggest and mightiest ever in history. That's a powerful statement about the grandness of each humble cup of tea.

Smitten by Britain said...

That is an extraordinary painting of an an extraordinary person. It really is striking. Big props to Lizzie for hooking us up with the nectar of the gods. ;-)

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