The spice trade refers to the trade between historical civilizations in Asia, Northeast Africa and Europe. Spices such as cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, ginger, pepper, and turmeric were known and used in antiquity for commerce in the Eastern World. These spices found their way into the Middle East before the beginning of the Christian era, where the true sources of these spices were withheld by the traders and associated with fantastic tales. Early writings and stone age carvings of neolithic age obtained indicates that India's southwest coastal port Muziris, in Kerala, had established itself as a major spice trade centre from as early as 3000 BC, which marked the beginning of the spice trade. Kerala, referred to as the land of spices or as the “Spice Garden of India”, was the place traders and explorers wanted to reach, including Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and others. The Greco-Roman world followed by trading along the Incense route and the Roman-India routes. During the first millennium, the sea routes to Sri Lanka (the Roman – Taprobane) and India were controlled by the Ethiopians who became the maritime trading power of the Red Sea and the Indians. The Kingdom of Axum (c. 5th-century BC–AD 11th century) had pioneered the Red Sea route before the 1st century AD. By mid-7th century AD after the rise of Islam, Arab traders started dominating the maritime routes.