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Praia Melão, a sugar mill and slavery plantation, situated on São Tomé, stands as the primary focus of archaeological exploration on the island.	Source: M.D. Cruz/Antiquity Publications Ltd

Tiny West African Island Shows Evidence of the Invention of Plantation Slavery

Situated on the West coast of Africa, with the equator running through it, the tiny island of Sao Tome was uninhabited before being colonized by the Portuguese in 1486. Now being investigated...
British woman drinking tea. Source: Masson/Adobe Stock

By Giving Up Sugar in Their Tea, British Women Helped End Slavery

Believe it or not, but by the 1700s, deciding whether or not to take sugar with your tea had become a political statement. While sugar-free diets are now all the rage, the motivations behind this...
Allegorical portrait of an elderly Elizabeth I, who is said to have suffered the effects of poor dental hygiene and black teeth. Source: Public domain

Queen Elizabeth I Had Beggarly Black Teeth

Queen Elizabeth I of England was particularly fond of sugar. This was a time of great conquests and explorations to the New World for the royal houses of Europe, accompanied by expanding trade and...
Greek god Dionysus with wine. Source: rudall30 / Adobe Stock

Romans Added Lead Sweetener to Their Wine and it Killed Them

How far did ancient people go to enhance the flavor of their food and drinks? Would they consume toxic substances if it made things a little more appetizing? Well, the Romans did, by adding a sweet...
An Ancient Treat: The Rich History of Fruitcake

An Ancient Treat: The Rich History of Fruitcake

Love it or hate it, fruitcake has been a winter holiday staple for a long time. You could say the earliest version was a barley, pomegranate seed, nut, raisin, and honeyed wine dessert called satura...
View of the Colonial home on Labourdonnais’ estate reflecting the opulent lifestyle of French sugar cane plantation owners of the 18th century.

Slaves and Sugar: ‘Black Gold’ and ‘White Gold’ of Mauritius’ Economy

In the 18th and 19th centuries, sugar was considered the ‘white gold’ in the commercial arenas of the world, but it was accrued by the scourge of ‘black gold’ – slave labor. The tiny green emerald...
Partial upper jaw of Australopithecus anamensis, a primitive hominin, recovered from the bone bed excavated at the Allia Bay site.

When DNA is Missing, an Ancient Sugar Chain May Help Trace Human Evolution

Ancient DNA recovered from fossils is a valuable tool to study evolution and anthropology. Yet ancient fossil DNA from earlier geological ages has not been found yet in any part of Africa, where it's...
Was the First Atlantic Slave Cemetery Made in the Canary Islands?

World’s Oldest Slave Cemetery May Have Been Found

Archaeologists claim that the remains found in a burial site excavated in 2009 in the Canary Islands could be some of the earliest known slave remains in the world. They were originally thought to...
Slaves cutting sugar cane. Island of Antigua (1823).

A history of sugar – the food nobody needs, but everyone craves

It seems as though no other substance occupies so much of the world’s land, for so little benefit to humanity, as sugar. According to the latest data, sugarcane is the world’s third most valuable...