Four hundred years ago, Isaac Le Maire helped found the Dutch East India Company. (You might remember them from history class: Think big wooden boats, trips across rough seas, and lots and lots of spices).
Anyway, Le Maire got caught up in a dispute over some expense reports, and so his co-directors essentially banished him from the spice trade.
Anyone else might've backed away, but Le Maire wanted revenge. And so the short sell was born.