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Database: The Story of Rum

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Bridgeton//Barbados//1651

ACI The Story of Rum

Rum has been a staple of trade and nautical culture for hundreds of years. It is an alcoholic beverage produced from the by-products of sugarcane processing like juices and molasses. It is widely popular in the West Indies as well as the Canadian Maritime.

The origins of Rum are debated, but drinks made from fermented sugarcane juice have existed for thousands of years in Asia. Production of rum started out in the West Indies in the 17th Century when plantation slaves discovered molasses could be fermented into alcohol which could then be purified and concentrated by distillation.

Rum quickly became a trade staple in the Caribbean. Its popularity, value and heavy dependence on manual labor made it a key component in the era's trade triangles between Africa, Europe and the Americas. It replaced French brandy as the Royal Navy's daily ration of alcohol to its sailors, a practice shared by pirates. In fact, a daily dose of rum, or tot, was served to sailors of the British Navy until 1970.

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