The Dutch were able to gain control of the pepper trade by the 17th century, creating strong links to India, Ceylon, Java, and other areas in southeast Asia. The rising power of the British East India Company in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the British Empire's fortunes increased. During this time, spices and pepper in particular increasing began to be under a near monopoly of control by British traders. During the time of the Dutch and British control of the spice and pepper trade, it was by then that black pepper, once again, became common and prices depreciated considerably. By this time, middle class consumers were able to reasonably afford it and it was during the 17 and 18th centuries that pepper began to emerge as a daily type of spice used to season meat mainly.