AP World History Summer Reading Essay
Only one thing matters more than a liquid refreshment, getting a fresh breath of air. But liquids, unlike air, are more than just necessities for life. A simple drink that was used just to quench a thirst had the possibilities of being a political stimulant, economic sparker, and a cultural infuser. Tom Standage decides to magnify the microscopic drops of history that had seemed to slip our minds so easily as just a thirst quencher. Whenever someone picks up a nice cold glass of one of these drinks, they should know the history of it. These drinks seemed to have done more than refresh us, they have served as economic sparkers and signatures for countries. What have these drinks done alike to have such a large impact on the economy of where they pioneered in? Superiority was a large overlapping similarity; each drink was very superior to any other drink of that era. Consistency was a major factor in each drink; whenever the economic factor of each drink came into play, each drink was consistent with how much the economy depended on it. Strength is needed among all drinks, especially when having such a large impact on the economy as these drinks did; they needed to be able to prosper in even the worst economic stages. Though the similarities seem to show us how the drinks work to impact our economy, it’s the differences that make the drinks unique. Some drinks maybe used as a form of currency, and others may be used as an economic signature. Drinks such as beer were used as a limited form of currency while drinks like coffee and coke were used as a country’s signature. Some of them led to inventions that helped with the economy while others kept the mood of its consumers up high when the reality of the economy wasn’t good. Though it seemed that drinks such as Coke put out the flame of beer even when prohibition ended, it was the difference of one that made people want to make the switch. Beer had a large impact on the beginnings of how writing and text was developed. Since beer had seemed to be a drink of value in Mesopotamia, people had wanted to record the collection and distribution of their most popular goods (pg. 30). Among these goods was beer, which had developed its own symbol of a clay vessel with diagonal linear markings (pg. 30). Officially these goods were offerings to god, but in practice they were compulsory taxes consumed by the temple bureaucracy. As the system advanced, the priests had direct control over much of the economy, because they could then either consume the products or trade them for other goods or for services (pg. 30). Beer also seemed to play another major role in the economy of the Mesopotamians, it had also served as a limited form of currency. As the production of beer was starting to grow, it was slowly being rationed out to women and children for doing work in the temple (pg. 35). Soldiers, policemen, messengers, and scribes also received payments of beer (pg. 36). A document that dated back to 2035 BCE had a list of provisions paid out to official messengers in the city of Umma. Rations of beer were occasionally given out to slaves or prisoners of war; they were usually given out every month (pg. 35). During the late 1600s and the early 1700s, Arabia’s economy was depending on their monopoly of coffee beans (pg. 146). Since Arabia was the only major exporter of coffee beans, the French and Dutch were considerably worried that their countries would become dependent on the product (pg. 146). The Arabs were slowly catching onto the other countries trying to break their monopoly, they had started to treat their coffee beans so that they were sterile and could not be grown again (pg. 146). In the 1690s the Arabians had another problem, coffee plantations were being established at Batavia in Java by the Dutch East India Company (pg. 147). Within a couple of years Java was shipping coffee to multiple countries directly and had granted the Dutch total...
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