The history of the Caribbean region is intertwined with sugar which was often referred to as white gold by British colonists as there was high demand from European elites and so trading in sugar was extremely profitable. As demand increased for sugar, this led to the introduction of slavery in the Caribbean region. And so to know the story of sugar and its derivatives products like rum is to know Caribbean history which can be learned in part by visiting one or more Caribbean rum distilleries including Appleton Estate in Jamaica, Mount Gay in Barbados, St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies, Rhum Barbancaourt in Haiti and Angostura in Trinidad.
Sugar Plantations in the Caribbean
Vast acres of thriving sugar plantations were once the lifeblood of the Caribbean. In the 15th century, Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus introduced sugar cane to the island of Hispaniola and the plantation era and the ensuing centuries-old slave trade began. Sugar plantations were later established in Jamaica, where it was felt that the fertile soil and weather conditions were ideal for the crop to flourish. Sugarcane, however, required massive amounts of labor both to tend and harvest and the Atlantic slave trade flourished as a result. The economic trade in sugar and slaves continued and spread to Puerto Rico, Barbados, and other Caribbean islands.
Discovery Of Sugarcane By-Products Including Sugar, Molasses, And Rum
When the English arrived in the Caribbean, it was not long before they discovered that sugar was not the only thing that the sugar cane juice could produce. Rum is believed to have been first distilled in the 1600s from fermented sugar cane by African slaves in Barbados. The English soon realized that they could use the intoxicating liquid to trade with American colonies for salted fish, pork, beef, timber, and livestock.
Source and More Info: https://www.caribbeanandco.com/learn-caribbean-history-visiting-rum-distilleries/