History of Sugar

Melanie Harding

Who First Ate This Food & Where?

  • It in unknown where sugar originated
  • Thought to have been first used in Polynesian Islands of the Pacific Ocean 5,000 years ago

Facts About Sugar & How It Has Changed In The Past Decades

510 B.C: Persian Emperor arrived conquered sub continent and founded that the people used sugar to sweeten their food. Before that the Persian people only used honey to sweeten their food, so when they found sugar cane they named it "the reed which gives honey without bees"

Fourth century B.C: Alexander the Great conquered Western Asia and took with him 'sacred reed' After that, Ancient Greece and then Rome, started to import sugar was a luxury

Seventh century B.C: Arabs attacked Persia and as part of their loot they took the sugar cane crop.

Through trading, invasions, and conquest, sugar cane reached many places including, Egypt, Rhodes, Cyprus, North Africa, Southern Spain and Syria.

1493: Columbus brought sugar cane to the Caribbean Island of Santa Domingo. The crop flourished in this area. It became a landmark in the history of sugar cane.


Slave trade was a major factor in the expansion of sugar cane

The growing depend for sugar created a plantation in New World and was largely responsible for the expansion of the Atlantic slave trade in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.

From 1701 to 1810 almost a million slaves were brought over to Barbados and Jamaica to work the sugar plantations.

In the late seventeenth century sugar consumption increased. It rose more rapidly than the demand for bread, meat, & dairy products.

Ways Sugar Was Used & Negative Affects It Had

  • For medical purposes (because it can be beneficial in limited quantities)
  • As a preservative
  • As a spice
  • As a sweetener
  • Used for trade in fifteenth & sixteenth century
  • Used as money


  • Forests had to be cleared for sugar plantations
  • Wood and fossil fuels needed for the processing steps
  • Waste products from the production had big affects on the environment
  • Products related to sugar all put additional resource requirements on the environment

Consumption Patterns

One half of the U.S. population consumes sugar drinks on a daily basis, and 25% drinks at least one 12 oz can of soda a day. Sugar consumption differs between men and women, it also depends on sex, age, income, and race. For example, the average male will consume more sugar than a female. That is also relevant with teenagers, young adults, and other age groups.