Whats is the connection between spirits and colonization

According to World History Connected - University of Illinois, in the book A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage, the author introduces the concept that the process of distillation originated in Cordoba by the Arabs to allow the miracle medicine of distilled wine to travel better. He talks of how this idea was spread via the new printing press, leading to the development of whiskey and, later, brandy.

Much detail is provided on the spirits, slaves, and sugar connection where rum was used as a currency for slave payment. Sailors drank grog (watered-down rum), which helped to alleviate scurvy.

Standage argues that rum was the first globalized drink of oppression. Its popularity in the colonies, where there were few other alcoholic beverage choices, led to distilling in New England. This, he argues, began the trade wars which resulted in the molasses act, the sugar act, the boycotts of imports, and a refusal to pay taxes without representation. Indeed, he wonders whether it was rum rather than tea that started the American Revolution.

The author also discusses the impact of the whiskey rebellion. The French fur traders' use of brandy, the British use of rum, and the Spanish use of pulque all point to how spirits were used to conquer territory in the Americas. Spirits became associated not only with slavery, but also with the exploitation and subjugation of indigenous peoples on five continents as colonies and mercantilist relationships were formed.

Through a look at spirits, students can better understand the spread of technology, exploration, the use of Arab technology, the spread of disease, slavery, trade relationships, revolution, and the subjugation of indigenous peoples.

Find A History of the World in 6 Glasses at Amazon.

Check out some tips and advice on how to be a better reader at Frankfurt International School.

In the news, NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the number of farm based businesses manufacturing wine, beer, spirits and cider using ingredients grown in New York has increased by 100 percent since 2011. In addition, the total number of manufacturers producing alcoholic beverages in New York has increased by 105 percent since 2011.

This growth is a result of the Administration’s efforts to partner with the beverage industry to create new farm based manufacturing licenses, launch new marketing and promotional initiatives, ease restrictive regulations, and reduce the time it takes to open a business. Read more at LongIsland.com.

Updated on Tuesday, September 02 2014 at 12:04PM EDT
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