History of Sugar

The 'history of sugar has five main phases:

  1. The extraction of sugar cane juice from the sugar cane plant and the subsequent domestication of the plant in tropical Southeast Asia many thousands of years ago (a firm date is unknown).
  2. The invention of manufacture of cane sugar granules from the sugar cane juice in India a little over two thousand years ago, followed by improvements in refining the crystal granules in India in the early centuries AD.
  3. The spread of cultivation and manufacture of cane sugar to the medieval Islamic world together with some upscaling of production methods.
  4. The spread of cultivation and manufacture of cane sugar to the West Indies and tropical parts of the Americas beginning in the 16th century, followed by more intensive upscaling of production in the 17th through 19th centuries in that part of the world.
  5. The development of beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other sweetners in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Worldwide through the end of the medieval period, sugar was expensive and was considered a "fine spice", but from about 1500 onwards technological improvements and New World sources began turning it into a bulk commodity.

Read more about History Of Sugar:  The Spread of Sugar Cane Cultivation, Cane Sugar in The Medieval Era in The Muslim World and Europe, Sugar Cultivation in The New World, The Rise of Beet Sugar, Mechanization, Other Sweeteners

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