Burt Wolf: What We Eat

How Sweet It Is: The Story of Sugar

Episode Guide »
Sugar started out in Asia, traveled to the Middle East and then to Europe first as a medicine and then as a rare spice. During his second voyage in 1493, Columbus brought it to the Caribbean where it changed into a common necessity, became a key element in the Caribbean slave trade and an early example of capitalist manufacturing. We'll find out why people who had a sweet tooth had a better chance of surviving than people who didn't and how sugar became the basis for England's international trade, a key element in the control of Britain's working class, and an essential part of the temperance movement.

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