Nathaniel’s Nutmeg. How one man’s courage changed the course of history




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.


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