Barbados, not Polynesia, China, India, Iran, the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean, Brazil, or even Christopher Columbus, gave to the world Rum when the Americas were still young. Instead it was Barbados.
Barbados Mount Gay Rum- the world’s “Oldest” Rum- according to the Barbados Advocate and Wikipedia is primarily exported to the United States [2007, December 14. Barbados Advocate] though Brazil has “Cachaca,” a distilled spirit, Barbadians would proudly let you know that Mount Gay Rum is “the rum that invented rum”; in other words, no other rum historically dates back to 1663.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. End-user products are the result of finished goods or final work in process, raw material, or extracts from an item’s source. Most rum is made from molasses (also sugar cane extract).
- So how did sugar cane get here?
- Where was sugar cane discovered? And:
- Did you know that in 510 B.C. Emperor Darius called sugarcane, “the reed which gives honey without bees”? Ah, and the Crusaders? They called it: “new spice”.
But, let’s go back to conflicts, historical wars, and conquests; India, Arabs, Polynesia and China. According to Dr. David Burley, an archaeologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, “The earliest known settlement in Polynesia” transpired “between 850 B.C. and 900 B.C.” here, too, man is suspected to have first used sugar cane.
Chinese traders spread sugar cane’s cultivation to Asia and India. Then, there was conquest. Emperor Darius invaded India, discovered the “secret of cane sugar” and brought back some cuttings to Persia (today’s Iran).
Sugarcane cuttings were brought to the Middle East, North Africa and Spain, by the Arabs who also planted sugarcane in places that they conquered. Work on how to produce sugar was in process when Darius’ efforts were short circuited in 11 Century AD; during the 11th Century Crusades, sugar cane reached the Mediterranean and Western Europe.
So, who let the secret out? The Crusaders did. With the winds of conquest at their backs, the future came from the expanse across the Atlantic. Spain and Portugal (Europeans) began to venture.
15th Century gave rise to Christopher Columbus (1492) who brought the “new spice” into the “New World” (1493) from the Canaries. In the “New World”, Hispaniola was first to receive sugar cane cuttings from Columbus first; but it was Portugal who had occupied and brought sugar cane to Brazil, only to be conquered three towns (1635) in the North, by the Dutch.
1637, Pieter Blower a Dutch Jew introduced sugarcane to Barbados; rum-making was discovered in 1663; 1703, is the oldest surviving deed on record for Mount Gay Rum Distilleries Ltd., the company is now having a 350 years run'”an incredible run for one company in business and it is this historical track record that caught my attention.