Hist112B: Fall 2012
October 11, 2012
Energy shifts from Sugar and the Trade
When it comes to describing why relative concentration of energy shifts from Asia and Africa to the North Atlantic region, resulting in the emergence of more complex societies in the North Atlantic world, I am going to focus on the two factors I feel are most important forming this occurrence. In this paper, I am going to discuss the importance of these factors and what they did history over time. The two most important factors that helped this energy shift from Asia/Africa to the North Atlantic region resulting in the emergence of more complex societies in the North Atlantic World are in my opinion sugar and the Atlantic slave trade. Throughout history sugar and the Atlatntic slave trade have been two things that have been brought to attention many times. Sugar has become something in all countries today that has been used to produce a lot of wholesome products and beverages. Other things sugar has to offer include fuel and livestock feed. The other important factor is the Atlantic slave trade. Although the Atlantic slave trade is not something people look at as something good that has happened, it not only diversified the world and also helped with major farming and industrial production. I will start to examine and explain why I chose these two factors as the most important to the shifts of energy towards the emergences of more complex societies.
The first of the two factors, Sugar, is a sweet flavored substance that we use as food. It is an organic chemical that creates carbohydrates. Sugar is created by many different variety of plants. The two most common or influential are sugar cane and sugar beet, thought sugar cane is by far the most influential of the two. Sugar was a form of food but served not only that importance in our history. Sugar helped shape the world and where we are today as societies. From the writings of Sweetness and Power, I took a quote I felt brought to the eye the importance of sugar and where it has come through history at that time. “Sugar surrendered its place as luxury and rarity and became the first-mass produced exotic necessity of a proletarian working class.” (Sidney Mintz, 46). This quotes gives you the idea that sugar grew from a luxury item to become a mass production necessity for a proletarian working class. Proletarian can be described as a member of the industrial working class. Once sugar is mass produced through the sugar plantations formations this now becomes a highly produced product and that means prices drop as does the rarity so now most people could afford to have it.
The second factor playing a major role in the concentration of energy shifts from Asia and Africa to the North Atlantic region is the Atlantic slave trade. The Atlantic slave trade brought us slaves to the Americas. By receiving work from the slaves, new trades and different work was created. With new trades were flourishing which meant that the economy was flourishing as well. The Atlantic slave trade was mainly the trade of African people to the Americas to work plantations. The slave trade brought discrimination, as well as, deaths of many Africans. The Atlantic slave trade was organized to supply workers to put into the labor force. It would start with sugar cane being shipped to Europe, and then cloth and other goods may have been sent to Africa, these would be exchanged on the western coasts for slaves. With sugar becoming popular because of formations of sugar plantations, this all occurred because of the Atlantic slave trade. The slave trade was a big reason for this boom in sugar plantations because the slaves would work the sugar plantations producing more and more sugar. Many things came from sugar. First expansion occurred in the 18th century because sugar plantations formed in the West Indies and North and South America. With plantations forming this was...
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