23 Reading 34-1 sugar always remained at least 10 times greater than the ratios of slaves/tobacco, or slaves/cotton, or any other crop grown in servitude. Perhaps three-quarters of all the Africans transported across the Atlantic, possibly as many as 15 million out of a total of 20 million enslaved in Africa, must be debited to sugar. Yet after 1750 the husbandry existed to grow a different form of sugar in western Europe itself. Only the motivation was absent. During the Napoleonic Wars French sugar ships had to run the blockade of the Royal Navy in the West Indies. They also suffered the loss of 100,000 tons of sugar a year which had previously come from Dominica (Haiti). Against this background of shortage and high prices Napoleon became aware of the botanical researches of Andrew Sigismond Margraf, of the Berlin Academy. Margraf had discovered that there were signi f cant quantities of sugar in carrots, parsnips, and above all sea beet, a cousin of the beetroot and the mangel-wurzel (a beet relation grown in England for cattle feed). Any child knew that ripe roots were sweet, but it was Margraf who f rst isolated the sugar in roots. However, it was not until 1801, long after Margraf’s death, that any sugar production took place commercially. Encouraged by the high wartime
This is the end of the preview. Sign up
access the rest of the document.