Thursday, July 09, 2015

Sugar Changed the World - an Account

So I have wrapped up the first book, Sugar Changed The World. I have to admit it was very interesting from a both a Rum related viewpoint as well as a Historic viewpoint. The History can be summed up by saying, Sugar, once the refining methods were discovered, rapidly brought the Age of Honey to an end. Sugar, was labor intensive to produce but slave labor was often employed to keep those costs to a minimum. There is no doubt that Sugar contributed in a great deal to slavery, not only in the US, but England and France as well. In fact those two countries had more slavery in the sugar industry than the states, partially because we were not the USA during a large part of the Sugar age beginnings.
The colonies of England (later to be the US) mostly used molasses manufactured (as a by-product) in the Caribbean islands to both be used as a table sweetener (like honey or jellies or jams) and a few other minor uses and as the basis to make..... Rum.
It's interesting to note that the "Taxation without representation..!" cry of the Colonists was for all the taxes levied upon the New World by the Crown. The major ones though were the Tea Tax and the Sugar (read Molasses) Tax. we read in our History books about the Boston Tea Party, but are not told that just the night before -- hundreds of barrels of Molasses were stolen from a ship in Boston harbor. The value much higher than the Tea.
It seems that the "Black Gold" was taken to be spirited away to a distiller(s) who would make it into Rum. In my mind we heard little or none of this because of the theft being a bit harder to justify than the symbolic ruination of a Tea cargo. However, let be known that the tax on Sugar/Molasses to be used to make Rum was also heavily taxed if made here but lighter if the raw material was shipped to English Distillers. Of course - Re-Taxed as bottled rum when sold here. So, if you wanted to drink American Made Rum back then it went through some horrific taxes both as a raw material and a finished product. Still there was no member of the Parliament that represented the Colonies of North America.
The French grew Sugar Cane both in the Caribbean and on North American soil. What we call Louisiana and part of the Southern Coast States as far east as Florida and west as Texas also grew some of the sugar bearing plant. Their slaves were therefore also on what would become The Louisiana Purchase when France needed to pay its bills for war with England (they call it the 100 Year War - part of which was fought in the US as - The French and Indian War). That under our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson in 1802.
So it must be pointed out that Molasses, was involved deeply with the founding and the enrichment of  The United States of America, both as a catalyst for the war for independence but also a huge business after the war processing what was made under the control of this young nation.
The story of slavery and its waning in the world as an accepted for of labor (as well as forced or even voluntary indenturing) is quite fascinating as you look at the time bale of the rest of the world against the US. Its an eye opener.
See you next time....

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