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The New World Rum Trade

            During the 15th and 16th Centuries, sugar was introduced to the New World. With these establishments, a global industry was born. People in Europe were always searching for a new and cheaper way to acquire the sweetener; it appeared that the new world colonies were to be controlled by the European nations and thus the goods would be produced to their liking. Soon, the by-product was discovered that it could be made into an alcohol substance, and thus rum was born from the sugar trade. Did this new beverage become incorporated into the New World overnight, and what were the impacts of the newly born commodity? .
             Rum is derived from a by-product of sugar, in the form of molasses. It is produced from the fermentation of a sugarcane source.1 Molasses is the final by-product from the production of sugar, and contains essential non-sugar organic compounds and minerals in the production process.1 It was discovered that when the sticky substance of molasses was set in the sun to cook or ferment, that it produced a new substance. This organically rich substance would be the basis for the future rum industry. This fermented material then undergoes a distillation process that in turn yields a clear liquid that is then aged in oaken casks.2 The various types of rum whether dark or light, are determined by the aging process. Darker rums are aged longer and absorb materials from the oak casks while also undergoing maintenance of skimming from the sugar boiling, to give them their color and taste. The fermentation of organic substances within the molasses enhance the liquids flavor and aroma.2 the entire fermentation process can last from one to seven years depending on the variety of rum being produced. .
             The origination of rum was due to the popularity of the sugar trade. During his second expedition across the Atlantic in 1493, Columbus brought along sugar and sugarcane. When he arrived in the New World, he planted sugarcane on the newly named island of Hispaniola (what is now known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

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