SaltA World History Author: Mark Kurlansky Presented by: Kara Banson
Thesis/ Roadmap Salt was a valuable good that impacted several areas of history since it enabled trading networks, provoked wars, inspired independence, enhanced food flavors, and influenced words that are used today.
Overview: Salt Mining Process 3000 B.C (Sichuan) -salt making began in China Li Bang: founded the first natural brine wells (252 B.C) and used bamboo piping Solar evaporation of sea water System of ponds and sluices: Salt Cay (Bermuda)- ponds drained in order to mend the stone or clay at bottom. The ponds are then refilled and undergo solar evaporation. Other systems included: a human powered wheel that pumped brine, later on salt makers took advantage of the steam engine Close pan production under vacuum (Morton) Salt’s impact on drilling: used to find rock salt. China’s percussion drilling influenced the Europeans to modify. They began using a rotary drill 1859 Pennsylvania- Edwin Drake was drilling for salt when he discovered oil instead!
Trading Networks Humans + animals need salt Salt preserved food products Added taste to bland food = demand of salt = trading networks formed Successful salt ports: Sichuan Genoa Sicily Kanawha Timbuktu
Wars American Revolution New England- many salt works- salted cod Colonists produced a lot of salted cod (Britain could not sell all) 1700s – colonists did not feel they needed Britain-except their salt Britain imposed tariffs= to inhibit American trade Americans responded with force = led to battles Britain vs. Colonists British blockaded salt reserves = colonists made own salt Conclusion: Treaty of Paris
Wars (con.) Civil War- shortage of salt = strategic advantage Confederates vs. the Union Union blockade: left the confederates with lack of salt + other goods = famine and disease Confederates tried to make own salt and salt substitutes: FAILED Salt working- only way to avoid military service Union destroyed many salt works in the South and liberated slave workers = Union victory
IndependenceGandhi’s salt march India 1923- Britain doubled salt tax in order to balance the budget Gandhi led Indian national congress = made Indian independence a massive movement thru salt campaign March 12, 1930: Gandhi + 78 selected followers left ashram and walked 240 miles to the sea at Dandi April 5- reached Dandi with thousands of followers where he picked up a piece salt, which was against salt laws Led to numerous salt protests and salt gathering spread widely He was imprisoned –leading to more rebellions and chaos 1931- Lord Irwin signed Gandhi- Irwin pact ending campaign 1947- India became independent
Uses in Food Soy sauce- complicated process originally made by peasants produced by fermenting soybeans and adding water and salt Garum sauce-salt and chili powder mixed with minced ginger root found in Italy and Asia Tabasco sauce- Edmund Mcllhenny experimented with Mexican red pepper and pickled it with brine to produce a spicy sauce (Avery Island, Louisiana) Ketchup-18th century England-anchovy sauce became known as ketchup which means a base of dark thick soy sauce in Indonesian. Later on ketchup became a tomato sauce. Other salted foods includes: caviar and prosciutto Mainly salt was used to preserve herring, cod, and cheese
Word Derivations Salary-Roman soldiers were paid in salt. “Salary” literally means “worth his salt” or “earning his salt” Salad- Romans salted their greens in order to balance out the natural bitterness
Today Due to modern geology salt = common commodity + inexpensive Small salt producers were bought out by big companies such as Morton Morton Salt Company- invented vacuum evaporator- uniform salt crystals USA largest salt producer + salt consumer Produces 40 million metric tons of salt a year and earns more than $1 billion in sales revenue 8% of salt production is food 51 % of salt production is for road salt