Zucker – zentrales Leitprodukt der Europäischen Expansion
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The article deals with the global transfer of sugarcane from Asia via the Mediterranean and the islands off the west coast of Africa to Brazil and the Caribbean. The spread of this plant from continent to continent accompanied and stimulated the European Expansion. The article highlights how planting, harvesting and processing of sugarcane was inextricably linked to the developing of plantation economies, the transatlantic slave trade and the system of indentured labor. Over time Europe took possession not only of a plant, but also of areas of production, of work force and eventually of the sweet taste the sugar cane gave. This last step of oppropriation is to be seen in the substitution of cane through beets and through chemically manufactured Saccharin. Fine white sugar from cane as well as from beets was produced mainly in Europe. This stimulated industrial development, changed consumer habits and life styles and contributed at the same time to the asymmetrical integration of the southern and northern hemisphere into the world market.
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