Timeline (1)

  • 6000 BC – First Evidence of sugar cane in Papua, New Guinea
  • 1000 BC – Sugar spreads into India because they saw it as having medicinal and pharmaceutical properties.  Indians are the first to refine sugar cane into crystallized sugar
  • 325 BC – Alexander the Great invades India and discovers sugar cane
  • 642 AD – Muslims invade Persia and discover sugar cane extending their empire throughout the Mediterranean world by 720.  Portuguese learn the ways of the plantation system from the Arabs and start sugar plantations in Africa, using slaves to tend the fields
  • 1099 AD – Christian crusades to the Middle East.  First record of sugar in England
  • 1319 AD – Sugar costs $50 a pound in England.  Sculptures are starting to be made out of sugar to decorate the food and the tables of the wealthy.  Where decorating wedding cakes began
  • 1493 AD – Christopher Columbus travels to the “Indies” for a second time stopping in the Canary Islands where he picks up sugar and takes it to Hispaniola
  • 1510 AD – Enslaved Africans tend sugar fields in the Caribbean
  • 1625 AD – British conquer Barbados
  • 1665 AD – British conquer Jamaica
  • 1685 AD – Slavery becomes legal in the French colonies due to the use of the Code Noir
  • 1691 AD – Liberty for slaves that touched French territory
  • 1697 AD – Division of Hispaniola between France and Spain
  • 1700 AD – Saint Domingo becomes the richest sugar colony
  • 1747 AD – Andraeas Marggraf discovers the use of beet sugar
  • 1789 AD – Start of the French Revolution; Declaration of the Rights on Man
  • 1793 AD – Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are executed; Abolition of slavery in Saint Domingo.
  • 1794 AD – Abolition of slavery in the French colonies
  • 1798 AD – Toussaint wins over Britain
  • 1799 AD – Napoleon becomes leader
  • 1800 AD – Napoleons wins Louisiana
  • 1801 AD – Toussaint frees slaves
  • 1802 AD – Legalization of slavery in the French colonies
  • 1803 AD – Toussaint dies in the hands of the French
  • 1804 AD – Haiti becomes the first independent plantation zone in the region
  • 1807 AD – Slavery becomes illegal in Britain
  • 1830 AD – Abolition of slavery in England
  • 1840s-1917 AD – Colonies become independent from England
  • 1879 AD – Saccharine is invented
  • 1967 AD – High Fructose Corn Syrup is created
  • 21st century – High demand for sugar, HFCS, and ethanol.

The video below is a documentary about sugar. It is a  great source of information regarding the history of sugar and its implications on today’s world. It covers sugar from its earlier days, slavery, political issues, and problems relating to sugar in our days. In general, it will give you a broad picture of what you can find under the tabs in these website.

Big Sugar: White, Sweet, and Deadly:

Works Used:

(1) Aronson, Marc, and Marina T. Budhos. Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science. Boston [Mass.: Clarion Books, 2010. Print.


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