A History of the World in 6 Glasses (Questions/Answers)
1) From which advanced civilization did Europeans get the ‘science’ of how to make spirits? A) The Arabs, who first started distilling wine and other substances for their experiments. 2) In what ways was the discovery and use of distillation important to the rebirth of science in Europe? A) Distillation and distilled wine were considered a therapeutic and medicinal miracle. It went hand in hand with the infant science of perfume making and helped the rebirth of science in Europe by introducing new chemistry principals and by translating texts into many different languages. Ancient texts from Greece, India, and Persia were all centralized and translated in to Arabic, and as the technology of distillation spread, those texts were translated to Latin, which could be read by educated people throughout Europe. 3) How did spirits advance/accelerate colonialism?
A) Spirits were easily transported on ships because they were much more durable and less likely to spoil then wine. Spirits soon became a sort of currency among slave traders, who basically turned the Africans who provided the slaves into alcoholics, then used spirits to barter for the slave labor they needed to run the huge plantations in the colonies. 4) In the 18th century, how did spirits help Britain have a more superior navy than France? A) Sailors in the 18th century faced many dangers, but probably the most common was a disease called scurvy, which comes from a lack of vitamin C, commonly found in citrus. Because citrus spoils easily on long voyages, it was impractical for ships to carry large amounts of the fruit onboard. In 1655, rum was substituted in the place of beer on Royal Navy ships, and it quickly became the preferred drink throughout the Navy. To decrease cases of intoxication, it was ordered that rum be mixed with two pints of water, which, more importantly, was mixed with sugar and lime juice. When the inclusion of lime juice became mandatory in 1795, the incidence of scurvy dropped dramatically, making the British crews overall much healthier. The French however gave their sailors wine, which was replaced on long voyages with eau-de-vie, which has no vitamin C. The result was a lowered resistance to scurvy, just as the British resistance was increasing. 5) How did spirits help build America?
A) Rum, a spirit that was developed in the New World, became immensely popular in the colonies. Made of sugar by-product, something plentiful throughout the plantations of the Caribbean, it was cheaper and stronger then the European made wine and beer, which was known to spoil on the long trip across the Atlantic. The drink soon became especially popular in New England, where they decided to start producing it themselves instead of importing it. This first step towards self-sustainment made a lot of people realize that they didn’t have to depend on England, that they could produce everything they needed, themselves. 6) What were the negative effects/uses of spirits?
A) There were many negative uses of spirits during that time. Spirits were much stronger and had a higher alcohol content then the traditional wine and beer that the people of the day were used to. As a result many people and establishments, such as taverns, exploited spirits. The result was wide spread intoxication, as well as an increase in violence. People who drink an excess of Rum become violent, and with rum so widely available for people of every class it meant that the amount of alcohol related incidents of aggression went up. Spirits also played a negative role in the slave trade. They became the main currency throughout the slave trading process, where European traders introduced the beverage to African slave traders in order to build a dependence on their product. As a result, with the more spirits produced, more slaves were bought, and more sugar cane by-product was produced, increasing the production of drinks...
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