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For a long time the lagoon city of Venice was the central trading centre for exquisite goods such as spices, silk cloth and porcelain from the Orient and the Far East. The Levant trade and the salt monopoly made Venice rich and powerful, as depicted on the "Vase Venetian Impressions". Only when the Portuguese Vasco da Gama crossed Africa's Cape of Good Hope and found his way by sea to India (1498), Venice lost its supremacy to the East Indian Company of the Nordic Countries.