History of Sugar – the Evolvement of Sugar with Involvement in the Lives of Many
History of Sugar – the Evolvement of Sugar with Involvement in the Lives of Many
History of Sugar – The Evolvement of Sugar with Involvement in the Lives of many
Can we live without sugar? It is unimaginable. Across the world, even food staples vary with different cultures and societies, but sugar remains to be an essential component in all diets, contributing to high percentage of caloric intake. Sugar today is so easily available and affordable that people simply regards it as “the white granular or powdery substance”. Natural and historic origins of sugar are often disregarded. This essay aims to shed some light on the primitive sweetness to mankind, origins of sugar, changes in consumption, and its related slavery centuries ago.

Before Sugar- Honey
Nature has provided the taste of sweetness to mankind since the earliest times. Fruits and honey were the primary sources of sugar to primitive man. Tapping the resources of the beehives led to discovery of the richness of wild honey. The hunting of honey first began more than 10 000 years ago and it is in ancient Egypt that the first record of bee is found. From thereafter, honey was used in confectionery and was incorporated in many dishes in ancient Egypt. It was even used for embalming the dead in ancient Egypt and Middle East. Known for its natural soothing and healing effects, some cultures also uses honey for treatment of simple ailments. (McGee 2004)

Sugar Cane
The first plant from which sugar was extracted was from the sugar cane (Sacchartum officinarium L.). It was first domesticated in New Guinea. It was believed that there were three diffusions of sugar cane from New Guinea, the first taking place around 8000B.C.

Perhaps two thousand years later, the cane was carried to India. It is unclear as to where sugar cane is native to, but the earliest datable mention of the sugar cane is 325B.C., when sugar, and inferentially the sugar cane, is recorded by Nearchus, Alexanders general, in Western India (Deerr 1949)

It is not until about 500A.D.that we see unambiguous evidence of sugar making. The Buddhagosa, a Hindu religious document, describe by way of analogy the boiling of juice, the production of molasses, and the rolling of balls of sugar (Mintz 1986). In the seventh century, the Arab invasion westward marked a turning point in the European experience of sugar. The Arabs introduced the cultivation of sugar cane, the art of sugar making and a taste of different sweetness in their occupation of major parts of Europe

Hell: Slavery
The spread of Arab conquer over North Africa and to South Europe can be considered the spark of the bitter life of millions of Africans. Captives of mixed blood in Africa were deemed as inferiors of Africa and as accursed children of Ham. In exchange for their freedom, they agreed to procure these unfortunates for their captors and in 1444, there arrived the first consignment of slave industry that was to continue for four centuries.4

Columbus first carried sugar cane to the New World on his second voyage, in 1493; he brought it there from the Spanish Canary Islands. Cane was first grown in the New World in Spanish Santo Domingo; it was from that point that sugar was first shipped back to Europe, beginning around 1516. Enslaved Africans worked for Santo Domingos pristine sugar industry, the first slaves having been imported there soon after the sugar cane. Hence, it was Spain that pioneered sugar cane, sugar making, African slave labor, and the plantation form in the America.8

The seventeenth century, the time of European naval wars in the Caribbean, was of course one of the tremendous activity for English sailors, merchants, adventurers, and royal agents. England conquered the most colonies and imported the most slaves for the production of sugar

A triangle of trade arose in the seventeenth century and matured in the eighteenth century The first and most famous triangle linked Britain to Africa and to the New World: finished goods were sold to Africa, African slaves to America and American commodities (especially sugar) to the mother country and her importing neighbours.8

This is one example – once the slave ships arrived in Africa, merchants could buy adults for 110-130 gallons of rum or children for about 80 gallons. Rum cost as little to produce as five and a half pence per gallon; in 1746, a slave could be purchased for about £5 and auctioned in the West Indies for £30-80.10

One could never imagine how hard life was on the sugar plantation; it was brutal and the work was so unrelenting that mortality rates soar on plantation fields. Because of the fluctuating numbers of working hands in the fields, many enslaved Africans were transported to work in the Caribbean. The number of

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History Of Sugar And Sugar Cane. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/history-of-sugar-and-sugar-cane-essay/