Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend
Frommedicine to spice
As sugar spread out of New Guinea and into India, where it was refined into granules, it continued to make its way west, but when it was first introduced to the Greeks and Romans, it was seen as amedicine. As production in the Middle East becamemore common, the availability of sugar as a spice expanded. The plant was introduced throughout Southern Europe, but its availability remained limited and it was among the most expensive spices into the 1400s, even as new production methods were introduced. Sugar cane would continue to expand toward the west and would be introduced to the NewWorld by Christopher Columbus during his second expedition in 1493. After being planted in current-day Haiti, it would quickly become the main export crop of the region. However, the expansion of sugar cultivation and the trade that came with it also had sinister ramifications.