Rum History | British West Indies

History of Rum

Rum history can be traced back to the 17th century when sugar plantations were flourishing in the British West Indies. These plantations hosted a very large part of the economy’s expansion there. Not only the sugar that they yielded but the laborers required to operate, maintain, and produce the sugar. This large demand resulted in slaves being recruited for the tasks. Although the fermentation of sugar into alcoholic substance was not a new concept. The fermentation process was thought to be tracked to Chinese and Indian origins, the Caribbean countries utilized it’s rum derivative sugar plantations to it’s own advantage.

Rum history became a Caribbean milestone when laborers (sugar plantation slaves) were desperately needed to keep the enormous industry flourishing. When traveling from New England to West Africa, boat captains would barter with a case of rum for slaves, and then navigate towards the West Indies to trade the slaves off for molasses. Then the cycle would begin over again while the molasses was utilized to manufacture more rum and the person in charge would generate large profits. Later there was a term used to describe this cycle known as The Triangle Trade.

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Rum history of the triangle trade would be compromised by the Sugar Act of 1764. Rum continued to play a large role in the American Revolution and within the complexity of politics. Rum became a hot commodity for elective candidates so much so people would attend an elective event just to see which person would be greedy with the trading and bartering of their valuable rum.

Rum history would not be complete without its active part in piracy and its relation with the Royal Navy. Back in 1655 when Britain over-sought Jamaica, the British gladly traded off their traditional rations of brandy for the exotic flavor of rum. Rum was potent and was eventually diluted with water in hopes to prevent sailors from being too intoxicated and unproductive. This tradition of supplying rations of rum to sailors continued until 1970 when it was eventually abolished.

Rum has had a profound effect on the society we live in today. More than 50% who drink liquor have selected rum as their liquor of choice in cocktails and mixed beverages. One of five liquor purchases in the United States is a bottle of rum. Rum has a genuine flavor that people enjoy straight and in mixed drinks. From rum and coke to Caribbean favorite cocktails rum has made its impact far and wide on people who continue to enjoy it globally.

Today there are many types of rum and many brands of rum as it continue to expand into a global industry. People consume rum at parties, in foods, at bars and nightclubs, while socializing at home, and in fine restaurants. Rum is one of the most renowned and traditional spirits known to man.

Rum Quote: Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest-Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! ~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island