Cane sugar - the history

Cane sugar - the history

Cane sugar - the history

Cane sugar from the 7th century A.D.

When the Arabs invaded India in the 7th century A.D. they discovered what Indians did with sugar cane to make cane sugar and they made sure they got the recipe. The Arabs then conquered many countries and took their knowledge with them at the same time. Areas such as North Africa and Spain also started to produce cane sugar. Sugar remained a luxury product for a long time.

Cane sugar between the 13th and 18th centuries

Cane sugar was often prescribed between the 13th and 15th centuries as a medicine to regain your strength.

In 1492, explorer Columbus took sugarcane plants with him on one of his first voyages. He wanted to investigate how this plant grew in the Caribbean. This turned out to be a great idea, as the climate proved to be excellent for the sugar cane. The discovery of Columbus ensured a flourishing sugar industry in America. This was the beginning of the large-scale sugar industry.

In 1750, sugar was still a luxury product and was taxed. So much profit was made on sugar in Europe that sugar was called 'the white gold'.

Sugar after the end of the 19th century

The situation remained that way until the end of the 19th century. Then taxes were lowered or even abolished, making sugar affordable for the average citizen. A chemist from Berlin discovered that sugar beet contains the same sugar as sugar from sugar cane. Sugar beet only became an important source of sugar when Napoleon blocked all trade with Great Britain to hit England. As a result, the import of sugar cane was difficult and people in Europe started to cultivate sugar beet themselves. By 1880, sugar beet had become the most important source of sugar in Europe. In the 20th century, sugar beet was cultivated all over Europe and new varieties and production techniques were introduced all the time. Beet sugar production was born.

Sugar consumption 21st century

Nowadays people consume 30 to 40 kilos of sugar per person per year. This applies to people living in Western Europe and North America. Sugar consumption in the world is still increasing, especially in emerging countries such as China and India. In the course of time, we have started to eat more and more foods with many empty calories, partly due to the rise of refined sugar. This is a major cause of the increase in typical Western physical conditions, such as obesity or overweight. But not everyone agrees on the exact relationship between the consumption of products such as sugar and physical disorders.

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May 8, 2020
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