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Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jun 11, 2024, 05:41

The IELTS Reading section is an integral component of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). These reading passages are designed to assess your ability to understand the gist, main ideas, detail, logical argument, and the writer's opinions, attitudes, and purpose.
 

Key Highlights of the IELTS Reading Section:
 

  • The Reading section comprises three passages of increasing difficulty, each followed by a set of questions.
  • The passages cover a wide array of topics, including academic, general interest, and workplace-related subjects.
  • Questions come in various formats, including multiple-choice, matching headings, sentence completion, and True/False/Not Given.
  • You have 60 minutes to complete the entire Reading section, and you must manage your time efficiently to answer all questions.

 

In this passage, "Bringing Cinnamon To Europe," you'll explore the fascinating history of how cinnamon, a prized spice, made its way to Europe from its origins in Asia. This historical account explores the spice's significance, the challenges faced in its transportation, and its eventual integration into European cuisine and culture.

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1. Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 14 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam. 

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2. Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Bringing Cinnamon To Europe

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1.

Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Passage

General Information

  • Read Instructions: Understand each question before answering.
  • Manage Time: Spend about 20 minutes per passage.
  • Skim and Scan: Quickly get the main idea and find specific information.
  • Highlight Key Info: Underline essential words or phrases.
  • Answer All Questions: Attempt every question; no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task.
  • Check Spelling: Ensure correct spelling and grammar.
  • Transfer Answers Clearly: Write answers neatly on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t Dwell: Move on if stuck and return later.
  • Review: If time allows, review your answers.

 

 

 

 

 Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Passage


 

 

Paragraph A

Cinnamon is a sweet, fragrant spice produced from the inner bark of trees of the genus Cinnamomum, which is native to the Indian subcontinent. It was known in biblical times and is mentioned in several books of the Bible, both as an ingredient that was mixed with oils for anointing people’s bodies and also as a token indicating friendship among lovers and friends. In ancient Rome, mourners attending funerals burnt cinnamon to create a pleasant scent. Most often, however, the spice found its primary use as an additive to food and drink. In the Middle Ages, Europeans who could afford the spice used it to flavour food, particularly meat, and to impress those around them with their ability to purchase an expensive condiment from the ‘exotic’ East. At a banquet, a host would offer guests a plate with various spices piled upon it as a sign of the wealth at his or her disposal. Cinnamon was also reported to have health benefits and was thought to cure various ailments, such as indigestion.

 

Paragraph B

Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the European middle classes began to desire the lifestyle of the elite, including their consumption of spices. This led to a growth in demand for cinnamon and other spices. At that time, cinnamon was transported by Arab merchants, who closely guarded the secret of the source of the spice from potential rivals. They took it from India, where it was grown, on camels via an overland route to the Mediterranean. Their journey ended when they reached Alexandria. European traders sailed there to purchase their supply of cinnamon, then brought it back to Venice. The spice then travelled from that great trading city to markets all around Europe. Because the overland trade route allowed for only small quantities of the spice to reach Europe and because Venice had a virtual monopoly of the trade, the Venetians could set the price of cinnamon exorbitantly high. These prices, coupled with the increasing demand, spurred the search for new routes to Asia by Europeans eager to take part in the spice trade.

 

Paragraph C

Seeking the high profits promised by the cinnamon market, Portuguese traders arrived on the island of Ceylon in the Indian Ocean toward the end of the 15th century. Before Europeans arrived on the island, the state had organised the cultivation of cinnamon. People belonging to the ethnic group called the Salagama would peel the bark off young shoots of the cinnamon plant in the rainy season when the wet bark was more pliable. During the peeling process, they curled the bark into a ‘stick’ shape, which is still associated with the spice today. The Salagama then gave the finished product to the king as a form of tribute. When the Portuguese arrived, they needed to increase production significantly, and so enslaved many other members of the Ceylonese native population, forcing them to work in cinnamon harvesting. In 1518, the Portuguese built a fort on Ceylon, which enabled them to protect the island, helping them to develop a monopoly in the cinnamon trade and generate very high profits. In the late 16th century, for example, they enjoyed a tenfold profit when shipping cinnamon over a journey of eight days from Ceylon to India.

 

Paragraph D

When the Dutch arrived off the coast of southern Asia at the very beginning of the 17th century, they set their sights on displacing the Portuguese as kings of cinnamon. The Dutch allied themselves with Kandy, an inland kingdom on Ceylon. In return for payments of elephants and cinnamon, they protected the native king from the Portuguese. By 1649, the Dutch broke the 150-year Portuguese monopoly when they overran and occupied their factories. By 1658, they had permanently expelled the Portuguese from the island, thereby gaining control of the lucrative cinnamon trade.

 

Paragraph E

In order to protect their hold on the market, the Dutch, like the Portuguese before them, treated the native inhabitants harshly. Because of the need to boost production and satisfy Europe’s ever-increasing appetite for cinnamon, the Dutch began to alter the harvesting practices of the Ceylonese. Over time, the supply of cinnamon trees on the island became nearly exhausted due to systematic stripping of the bark. Eventually, the Dutch began cultivating their own cinnamon trees to supplement the diminishing number of wild trees available for use.

 

Paragraph F

Then, in 1996, the English arrived in Ceylon, thereby displacing the Dutch from their control of the cinnamon monopoly. By the middle of the 19th century, the production of cinnamon reached 1,000 tons a year after a lower-grade quality of the spice became acceptable to European tastes. By that time, cinnamon was being grown in other parts of the Indian Ocean region and in the West Indies, Brazil, and Guyana. Not only was a monopoly of cinnamon becoming impossible, but the spice trade overall was diminishing in economic potential and was eventually superseded by the rise of trade in coffee, tea, chocolate, and sugar.

2.

Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Bringing Cinnamon To Europe

Questions and Answers 1-4
  • Reading Passage has six sections: A-F.
  • Choose the correct heading for section A-D from the list of headings below.

 

 

Write the correct number, i-v, in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.


 

1.  Section A

2.  Section B

3.  Section C

4.  Section D

 

List of Headings
 

  1. A civilised profit-making business
  2. Introduction of Portuguese traders to Mexicans
  3. Establishment of cinnamon’s monetary value
  4. Values of cinnamon other than just a food ingredient
  5. Occupation of Dutch over Portuguese monopoly

 

 

Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Answers with Explanations (1-4)

 

 

Type of question: Matching Headings

 

In this question type, you will be asked to choose the correct heading for each paragraph from a list of headings provided. This type of question assesses your ability to understand the main idea or theme of each paragraph.

 

How to best answer: 

 

  • Familiarise yourself with the list of headings before reading the paragraphs. This helps you know what to look for.
  • Identify the main idea or theme of each paragraph by looking for topic sentences or recurring themes
  • Find keywords or phrases that are similar to those in the headings. This can help you make connections.
  • Eliminate incorrect options that don't match any paragraphs to narrow down your choices.
  • Skim and Scan each paragraph efficiently to get a context about the content.

 

 

1. IV

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A: "At a banquet, a host would offer guests a plate with various spices piled upon it as a sign of the wealth at his or her disposal. Cinnamon was also reported to have health benefits and was thought to cure various ailments, such as indigestion."
 

Explanation

This paragraph illustrates the multifaceted cultural significance of cinnamon, portraying it as more than just a spice for food but also as a symbol of affection, a fragrant aroma, and a believed remedy for health issues.


 

2. III

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph B:  "Because the overland trade route allowed for only small quantities of the spice to reach Europe, and because Venice had a virtual monopoly of the trade, the Venetians could set the price of cinnamon exorbitantly high."

 

Explanation

The high prices of cinnamon, attributed to Venice's trade monopoly and limited supply via the overland route, underscore its substantial monetary value and the economic dynamics of the spice trade during that period.


 

3. I

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph C:  "In the late 16th century, for example, they enjoyed a tenfold profit when shipping cinnamon over a journey of eight days from Ceylon to India."
 

Explanation

The remarkable tenfold profit increase in cinnamon exports from Ceylon to India during the 16th century highlights the immense economic significance and profitability of the cinnamon trade for the Portuguese traders.


 

4. V

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph D: "By 1649, the Dutch broke the 150-year Portuguese monopoly when they overran and occupied their factories. By 1658, they had permanently expelled the Portuguese from the island, thereby gaining control of the lucrative cinnamon trade."
 

Explanation

The Dutch's successful displacement of the Portuguese from Ceylon and subsequent control over the cinnamon trade demonstrates the pivotal moment in history where a monopoly shifted hands, reshaping the economic landscape of the spice trade.

Questions and Answers 5-8
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
Based on your understanding of the passage, mark the statement:

  • TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
  • FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
  • NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this in the passage

 

 

5.  During the 19th century, the spice trade continued to be an economically significant activity.
6.  With their arrival in Ceylon, the Dutch supplanted the Portuguese in the cinnamon trade.
7.  All through the 16th century, the Portuguese monopolized Ceylon's cinnamon trade. 
8.  Compared to the natural trees, the Dutch-planted trees produced more cinnamon.

 

 

Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Answers with Explanations (5-8)

 

Type of question: True/False/Not Given

 

In this question type, you are required to determine whether the statements provided agree with, contradict, or are not mentioned in the reading passage. 

 

How to best answer: 
 

  • Understand what information is being presented and what is being asked.
  • Find relevant information in the reading passage that relates to the statement.
  • Determine if the statement agrees with, contradicts, or is not mentioned in the passage.
  • If the information is not explicitly provided in the passage, select 'Not Given' rather than making assumptions.
  • Base your answers solely on the information presented in the passage, avoiding personal opinions or outside knowledge.


 

5. False

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph F: "By the middle of the 19th century, the production of cinnamon reached 1,000 tons a year, after a lower-grade quality of the spice became acceptable to European tastes. By that time, cinnamon was being grown in other parts of the Indian Ocean region and in the West Indies, Brazil, and Guyana."

 

Explanation

The decline in the economic potential of the spice trade during the 19th century, as indicated in the passage, contradicts the idea that it remained economically significant during that time.


 

6. False

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph E: "Over time, the supply of cinnamon trees on the island became nearly exhausted due to systematic stripping of the bark. Eventually, the Dutch began cultivating their own cinnamon trees to supplement the diminishing number of wild trees available for use."

 

Explanation

While the Dutch did supplant the Portuguese, they also began cultivating their own cinnamon trees, showing a shift in their strategy beyond mere replacement, as stated in the passage.


 

7. True

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph C: "In 1518, the Portuguese built a fort on Ceylon, which enabled them to protect the island, helping them to develop a monopoly in the cinnamon trade and generate very high profits."
 

Explanation

The construction of a fort by the Portuguese in Ceylon enabled them to monopolize the cinnamon trade during the 16th century, aligning with the statement provided.


 

8. Not Given

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph: Not available

 

Explanation

Since the passage doesn't provide any information about the comparison between cinnamon production from Dutch-planted trees and natural trees, the answer remains "Not Given."

Questions and Answers 9-14
  • Complete the notes below.
  • Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

 

 

The Early History of Cinnamon

 

 

Biblical times:added to 9) __________utilized to display 10) __________ Between citizens
Ancient Rome:used for its sweet aroma at 11) __________
Middle Ages:  added to food, especially meat, was a sign of a person’s 12) __________ known as a remedy for 13)  __________ and other health issues developed in 14)  __________

 

 

Bringing Cinnamon To Europe Reading Answers with Explanations (9-14)

 

 

Type of question: Notes completion

 

Under this task, you will be required require you to fill in missing information within a given text, often in the form of words, phrases, or sentences. These questions are designed to test your comprehension, attention to detail, and ability to infer meaning from context.

 

How to answer: 

 

  • Read the passage carefully to understand the context and main ideas.
  • Identify the type of information missing, such as words, phrases, or sentences.
  • Look for contextual clues or keywords surrounding the missing information.
  • Use logical reasoning and inference to fill in the missing parts.
  • Ensure that the completed notes are concise and grammatically correct.
  • Verify and finalise your answers 

 

 

9. Oils

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A: "It was known in biblical times and is mentioned in several books of the Bible, both as an ingredient that was mixed with oils for anointing people’s bodies and also as a token indicating friendship among lovers and friends."
 

Explanation

During biblical times, cinnamon was combined with oils for anointing people's bodies, serving both a practical and symbolic purpose, as indicated in the passage.


 

10. Friendship

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A: "It was known in biblical times and is mentioned in several books of the Bible, both as an ingredient that was mixed with oils for anointing people’s bodies and also as a token indicating friendship among lovers and friends."
 

Explanation

Cinnamon was used as a token of friendship among lovers and friends, reflecting its cultural significance beyond its culinary and aromatic properties, as mentioned in the passage.


 

11. Funerals

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A: "In ancient Rome, mourners attending funerals burnt cinnamon to create a pleasant scent."
 

Explanation

In ancient Rome, cinnamon was burnt at funerals to create a pleasant scent, demonstrating its use in cultural and ceremonial practices, as described in the passage.


 

12. Wealth

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A: "At a banquet, a host would offer guests a plate with various spices piled upon it as a sign of the wealth at his or her disposal."
 

Explanation

Offering cinnamon and other spices at banquets symbolised the host's wealth and ability to procure expensive condiments, showcasing social status and hospitality, as stated in the passage.


 

13. Indigestion

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph A: "Cinnamon was also reported to have health benefits and was thought to cure various ailments, such as indigestion."

 

Explanation

Cinnamon was believed to have medicinal properties, including the ability to alleviate indigestion, highlighting its perceived health benefits, as mentioned in the passage.


 

14. India

 

Reference:

 

From paragraph B: "This led to a growth in demand for cinnamon and other spices. At that time, cinnamon was transported by Arab merchants, who closely guarded the secret of the source of the spice from potential rivals. They took it from India, where it was grown, on camels via an overland route to the Mediterranean."

 

Explanation

Cinnamon was sourced from India, indicating its origin and the beginning of its journey along the spice trade route, as described in the passage.

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FAQs

Q. How can I score better on my IELTS Reading test?

Ans. To score well on the IELTS reading exam, you need to manage your time effectively, hone your skimming and scanning abilities, develop a strong vocabulary, ensure accuracy, practice with sample tests thoroughly, and expose yourself to various text types. Consistent and focused preparation is key to attaining a high score.

Q. Can I retake the IELTS Reading test alone?

Ans. Yes, you can retake any section of the IELTS test individually, including reading. The format and timing of the IELTS One Skill Retake test mirror that of the individual skill in a full IELTS test, saving time by excluding the other three skills.

Q. Is the IELTS Reading test difficult to score?

Ans. The difficulty of the IELTS reading test varies based on your English proficiency and familiarity with the test format. Its diverse texts and questions within a limited time frame can pose challenges. However, consistent preparation and practice enable you to improve skills and achieve a high score.