The history of Rum
Originally from Asia, sugarcane was introduced into the Caribbean by Spanish settlers during Christopher Columbus' second voyage in the late 15th century.
The first written mention of rum comes from Barbados in 1647, but it is known that rum was being made on the island at the start of the 17th century. In the French Antilles the invention of rum came later and is attributed to Père Labat in 1694, as a medicinal remedy.
Of poor quality and inexpensive to make, rum was initially only for the plantation slaves as more expensive cognac and sherry were reserved for the settlers. It also became the drink of sailors and pirates, but rum did not begin to spread to Europe and North America until the 18th century, when real progress with distillation techniques was made.
Today, rum is the most widely consumed distilled alcohol in the world. It is made on every continent, in Asia, Latin America, Oceania, Europe (Spain) and even Africa and the Middle East, but the most highly prized rum unquestionably comes from the Caribbean.