World Sugar History Newsletter

Number 26, June 1998

In this issue:

  1. Sugar Industry Archaeology
  2. Recent Publications
  3. Conference Reports
  4. Review

This version of the World Sugar History Newsletter, No. 26, June 1998, has been edited for the purpose of on-line display. The contents remain complete.


This appears to be a relatively neglected field and we would like to produce an inventory of the work that has been done. We require volunteers to compile the references, but let us know before you begin so that we can avoid any duplication of effort. The first in what we hope will be a lengthy series appears below. It was provided by David T. Palmer, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University.


Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation

David W. Babson, Pillars on the Levee: Archaeological Investigations at Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation, Geismar, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, Midwestern Archaeological Research Center, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, 1989.

Benjamin Maygarden, Jill-Karen Yakubik, Herschel A. Franks, Maria Tavaszi, Duncan Spencer, Colin Brooker, Donna K. Stone, Catheren Jones, Rosalinda Mendez, and Tara Bond, "Archaeological Data Recovery at Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation," (16AN26), Ascension Parish, Louisiana, Volume III: Investigations at the Sugar House, Report on file, 1994.*

Jill-Karen Yakubik, Carrie A. Leven, Kenneth R. Jones, Benjamin Maygarden, Shannon Dawdy, Donna K. Stone, James Cusick, Catheren Jones, Rosalinda Mendez, Herschel A. Franks, and Tara Bond, "Archaeological Data Recovery at Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation," (16AN26), Ascension Parish, Louisiana, Volume I: Investigations in the Quarters and Archaeological Monitoring. Report on file, 1994.*

Jill-Karen Yakubik, Carrie A. Leven, Kenneth R. Jones, Benjamin Maygarden, Shannon Dawdy, Donna K. Stone, James Cusick, Catheren Jones, Rosalinda Mendez, Herschel A. Franks, and Tara Bond, "Archaeological Data Recovery at Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation," (16AN26), Ascension Parish, Louisiana, Volume II: Artifacts from the Quarters and Archaeological Monitoring. Report on file, 1994a.*

Jill-Karen Yakubik, and Rosalinda Mendez, Beyond the Great House: Archaeology at Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation, Discovering Louisiana Archaeology One, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, [1995].

Avalon and Luckland Plantations

R. Christopher Goodwin, Stephen Hinks, William P. Athens, Ralph Draughon, Jr., Jennifer A. Cohen, William A. Morgan, Allen R. Saltus, Jr., and Paul V. Heinrich, "Historical and Archaeological Investigations of Fort Bisland and Lower Bayou Teche, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana," 1991.*

R. Christopher Goodwin, Stephen Hinks, William P. Athens, Jennifer A. Cohen, Ralph Draughon, Jr., and Paul Heinrich, "Supplemental Archaeological Investigations of Lower Bayou Teche, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana," Report on file, 1991a.*

Avoca Plantation

David B. Kelley, "Archaeological and Historical Research on Avoca Plantation: Testing of Site 16SMY130 and Survey of Proposed Borrow Areas for EABPL Item E-96, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana," Report on file.*

Bourbon Plantation

R. Christopher Goodwin, Jill-Karen Yakubik, and Peter A. Gendel, "Historic Archaeology at Star and Bourbon Plantations: Miles 65.5-R and 151-L, Mississippi River," Report on file, 1984.*

Destrehan Plantation

Teresia R. Lamb, "Preliminary Archaeological Reconnaissance and Assessment of Destrehan Plantation, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana," Report on file, 1983.*

E. D. White Plantation

Laurie A. Wilkie and Paul Farnsworth, "Archaeological Testing at the E. D. White Historic House, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana," Report on file, 1995.*

Elmwood Plantation

J. Richard Shenkel, "Archaeology of Elmwood Plantation, Preliminary Report," Report on file, 1974.*

Fontainebleau Plantation

Heartfield, Price, and Greene Inc., "A cultural resources inventory of the Pearl River Basin, Louisiana and Mississippi.," Two Volumes, Report on file, 1981.*

Golden Ranch Plantation

Charles E. Pearson, Bryan L. Guevin, and Sally K. Reeves, "A Tongue of Land Near Lafourche: The Archaeology and History of Golden Ranch Plantation, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana," Report on file, 1989.*

Helvetia and Wilton Plantations

Thurston H. G. Hahn, III, Charles E. Pearson, Cherie A. Schwab, Liz L. Davoli, and Donald G. Hunter, "A Phase II Cultural Resources Evaluation of a Portion of Helvetia and Wilton Plantations, St. James Parish, Louisiana," Report on file, 1996.*

Magnolia Mound Plantation

Sheri Dixon Lane, "An Archaeological Study of the Magnolia Mound Plantation House," Manuscript on file, Archaeology Laboratory, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

May Plantation, Tenancy, Ethnoarchaeology

Claudia C. Holland, "Tenant Farms of the Past, Present, and Future: An Ethnoarchaeological View," Historical Archaeology 24:4 (1990), pp. 60-69.

Oak Alley Plantation

Elizabeth Boggess and Blanche Lovelly, "National Register Testing of the Archaeological Component at Oak Alley Plantation," (16SJ53), Vacherie, Louisiana. Report on file, 1991.*

Riverlake Plantation, Glass-Knapping, Toys

Laurie A. Wilkie, "Childhood in the Quarters: Playtime at Oakley and Riverlake Plantations," Louisiana Folklife XVIII (1994), pp. 13-20.

"Glass-Knapping at a Louisiana Plantation: African-American Tools?" Historical Archaeology 30:4 (1996), pp. 37-49.

Welcome Plantation

Vaughn M. Bryant, Jr., David L. Carlson, Cristi Assad, Stephen James, Robert Murry, and Bruce Thompson, "Archaeological and Palynological Analysis of Specimens and Materials Recovered in Two Historic Period Privies and a Well in the St. Alice Revetment, St. James Parish, Louisiana," Report on file, 1982.*

George Castille, "Survey and Evaluation of the St. Alice Revetment, St. James Parish Louisiana," Report on file, 1979.*

Summary Report: "Privy Excavations St. Alice Revetment," Submitted, 1979a.*

Whitney Plantation

Donald G. Hunter, Summer L. Shuman, Brenda Rykles, and Wayne Lawrence Coco, "Whitney Plantation: Archaeology on the German Coast, Cultural Resources Investigations in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana," Report on file, 1991.*

The staff of the Division of Archaeology, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism was very helpful in finding reports for this bibliography. Listings marked with an * can be found at this location.

* * *

Recent publications on Caribbean plantation archaeology include:

David R. Watters, "Excavations at the Harney site slave cemetery, Montserrat, West Indies," Annals of the Carnegie Museum 56 (1987), pp. 289-318.

James B. Petersen and David R. Watters, "Afro-Montserratian ceramics from the Harney site cemetery, Montserrat, West Indies," Annals of the Carnegie Museum 57 (1988), pp. 167-187.

David R. Watters, "Historical documentation and archaeological investigation of Codrington Castle, Barbuda, West Indies," Annals of the Carnegie Museum 66 (1997), pp. 229-288.

Our thanks to Reg Murphy, University of Calgary, for the above references. There is also:

Thomas A. Loftfield and James B. Legg, "Archaeological evidence of Afro-Barbadian life at Springhead Plantation, St. James Parish, Barbados," Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 43 (1996/1997), pp. 32-49.


Donald Harman Akenson, If the Irish Ran the World. Montserrat, 1630-1730 (Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997). A history of a small sugar island, emphasizing the involvement of the Irish in colonialism.

Laura Mason, Sugar-Plums and Sherbert. The Prehistory of Sweets (Totnes, England: Prospect Books, 1998). 250 pp. 20. ISBN 0 907325831. This is a history of the manufacture and consumption of sweets (candy) along with some recipes. There are chapters on such topics as "pulled sweets and seaside rock" and "comfits".

A.C. Hannah and Douglas Spense, The International Sugar Trade (Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing Limited, 1996. Published in association with the International Sugar Organization). 246 pp. US$160. ISBN 1 85573 069 3. This is a useful introduction to the trade.

Beatriz Scharrer Tamm, Azúcar y trabajo: tecnología de los siglos XV11 y XV111 en el actual estado de Morelos (Mexico City: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social, Instituto Cultural de Morelos, 1997). 214 pp. ISBN 968 842 624 5. A well-illustrated discussion of the colonial industry that draws on original sources.

P.J. Manohar Rao, Industrialization of Sugar Cane and its Co-Products (New Delhi: P.J. International Group Consultants, 1998). 600 pp. US$100 + US$10 postage. (Available from the publishers at A-101, Yamuna Apartments, Alaknanda, New Delhi-110019, India.) A technical work on the co-products (formerly by-products) of the manufacture of sugar from sugar cane.

Oscar Zanetti and Alejandro García, Sugar and Railroads: A Cuban History, 1837-1959. Trans Franklin W. Knight and Mary Todd (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). 496 pp. Cloth and paperback, US$59.95 and US$29.95. ISBN 0 8078 2385 6 and 0 8078 4692 9.

B.J. Barickman, A Bahian Counterpoint: Sugar, Tobacco and Cassava in the Recôncavo, 1780-1860 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). US$55.00. ISBN 0 8047 2632 9.

Jorge Chullén and David Lincoln (eds.), Sugar World: Information and Analysis for Sugar Workers, 1977-1997 (Toronto: ICCSASW-CCCSTAM, 1998). Pp.104. US$15 or Cdn$20. ISBN 0 9684351 0 6.

Alan Dye, Cuban Sugar in the Age of Mass Production. Technology and the Economics of the Sugar Central, 1899-1929 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). 343 pp. ISBN 0 8047 2819 4.

Barry Carr, "Identity, class, and nation: Black immigrant workers, Cuban communism, and sugar insurgency, 1925-1934," Hispanic American Historical Review 78:1 (February 1998), pp. 83-116.

Joseph P. Reidy, "Mules and machines and men: Field labor on Louisiana sugar plantations, 1887-1915," Agricultural History 72:2 (Spring 1998), pp. 183-196.

Australian Company Histories

John Douglas Kerr, an amateur historian, has made the history of sugar mills his specialty. Norman Rozeff has provided this list of John Kerr's company histories. We have included addresses and postal codes to most references. Order directly from the mills.

Northern Outpost (Mossmann: Mossmann Central Mill, 1979, 1995). 184 pp. [P.O. Box 97, Mossmann, Queensland, 4670.]

Southern Sugar Saga: A History of the Sugar Industry in the Bundaberg District (Bundaberg: Bundaberg Sugar Company Ltd., 1983). 160 pp. [P.O. Box 500, Bundaberg, Queensland, 4670.]

Sugar at Maryborough: 120 Years of Challenge (Maryborough: Maryborough Sugar Factory Ltd., 1987). 252 pp.

A Century of Sugar: Racecourse Sugar Mill, Mackay (Mackay: Mackay Sugar Co-operative Association Ltd., 1988). 224 pp. [P.O. Box 5554, Mackay Mail Centre, Queensland, 4741.]

Top Mill in the Valley: Cattle Creek Sugar Mill, Finch Hatton, 1906-1990 (Mackay: Mackay Sugar Co-operative Association Ltd, 1991). 120 pp. [P.O. Box 5554, Mackay Mail Centre, Queensland, 4741.]

Only Room for One: A History of Sugar in the Isis District (Childers: Isis Central Sugar Mill Company, 1996). 160 pp. [Private mail bag 1, Childers, Queensland, 4660.]

A Crystal Century: The History of Prosperine's Sugar Mill, its Farms and its People (Prosperine Co-operative Sugar milling Association Ltd., 1997). 192 pp. [P.O. Box 101, Prosperine, Queensland, 4800.]


Daniel Campi of the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán has informed us of the XVl Jornadas de Historia Económica, Asociación Argentina de Historia Económica, that took place at the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Quilmes, Argentina, from 16th to 18th September, 1998. One of its symposia was "Los complejos azucareros en Argentina, Brasil, y México: actores sociales y políticas, 1890-1945". It included the following papers: Alfredo S. C. Bolsi (U.N. de Tucumán), "Azúcar y población"; María Celia Bravo (U.N. de Tucumán), "El 'populismo radical' en Tucumán: conflictos azucareros y crisis política (1922-1923)"; Adriana Kindgard (U.N. de Tucumán) y Daniel Campi (U.N. de Tucumán), "La política azucarera Argentina en la década de 1930. Notas en torno a la regulación y a la 'justicia distributiva'"; Roberto Pucci (U.N. de Tucumán), "El proceso de modernización en una economía azucarera periférica: una perspectiva comparativa entre el caso Argentino y otras economías latinoamericanas"; Oriowaldo Queda (ESAIQ/ Universidade de São Paulo) y Celso Sturion (consultor), "A debelação do Mosaico e a expansão da lavoura canavieira na década de 1920, no estado de São Paulo"; Pedro Ramos (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brasil), "Os novos produtores do complexo canavieira paulista no periodo 1929-1945"; José Antonio Sánchez Román (Universidad Complutense de Madrid - Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset), "Mr. Morris buscando a la gente decente: el Banco de Londres y del Río de la Plata y el negocio azucarero en Tucumán, Argentina, 1909-1914"; Tamás Szmrecsányi (DPGI/IG/ Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brasil) y Alceu de Arrudo Veiga Filho (IEA/SAA-SP), "O ressurgimento da lavoura canavieira em São Paulo na Primeira República, 1890-1930"; Cecilia Zuleta (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa), "De hacienda y haciendas: estado, fiscalidad e industria azucarera en Morelos, México, 1868-1911".

* * *

Peter Griggs, James Cook University of North Queensland, Cairns campus, has sent the following report.

In 1997 the Department of History at the University of Adelaide established a Research Centre for the History of Food and Drink. The main purpose of the Research Centre will be to promote collaborative and cross-institutional research in the history of food and drink in an Australian and global context. More information about the research Centre is available through FoodDrink/

The Research Centre held its first international conference 8-10 July, 1998. Over 150 delegates from around the world attended. The session on sugar included the following papers: James Walvin, University of York, England, "Sugar in the shaping of western culture"; Roger Knight, University of Adelaide, "Subaltern sugar: colonial factories, resistance and 'native' sugar industry in Java, 1830-1958"; Peter Griggs, James Cook University, Cairns, "An antipodean taste for sweetness: the consumption and demand patterns of sugar in Australia 1788-1900".

There was also a workshop on "Unpacking Sugar: Post-colonial Perspectives". Speakers and their papers were: James Walvin, same as above; W. Ashcroft, University of New South Wales, Sydney, "Why a post-colonial view on sugar?"; Pal Ahluwalia, University of Adelaide, "Sugar and the post-colonial: the African context"; Peter Griggs, University of North Queensland, "Alien agriculturalists: non-European small farmers in the Australian sugar industry 1885-1920"; John Kelly, University of Chicago, "Corporations and plantations: locating the capitalism of colonial Fiji"; Roger Knight, University of Adelaide, "Coolies in the workforce: colonial description and sugar industry labour in Java, 1800-1942".


Christian Daniels, "Agro-industries: Sugarcane Technology," in Joseph Needham (ed.), Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 6: Biology and Biological Technology, Part III: Agro-industries and Forestry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). Pp. xxvii, 740. 95. ISBN 0-521-41999-9 (hardback).

Joseph Needham (1900-1995) directly supervised the publication of the first seventeen books in the Science and Civilisation in China series, including the volume under review that was in press at the time of his death. From the first volume, published in 1954, the series established itself as a major resource for students of agriculture and agricultural technologies. The history of sugar appeared from time to time in those earlier volumes, but the present offering from Christian Daniels is truly comprehensive, not only in its treatment of China (occupying 539 of the volume's pages), but also in placing the Chinese experience within a global framework. Thus, it has much to tell about other places and much to inform specialists concerned with other sugar regions.

The material covered is extensive and often intensely detailed. The learning exhibited is truly impressive, rooted in primary sources as well as ethnographic observation throughout East Asia. The desire to be comprehensive sometimes stands in the way of interpretation, as does the requirement to link sugar with other crops and technologies in the history of China. Similarly, an occasional emphasis on "firsts" and precursors, together with a certain preoccupation with European parallels, typical of the series, is at times intrusive. Yet, there is no doubt that the approach contributes to the development of a truly comparative history. Comparison is made not only with sugar in other places but also with other agro-industries within China. Largely, this derives from an editorial desire to cover absolutely everything somewhere in the series, and from the various "demarcation disputes", as Daniels calls them, which arose between authors and sections. Daniels does everything possible to link his account with that of other historians of sugar, notably Sidney Mintz in Sweetness and Power (1985). The comprehensiveness of the account sometimes makes it appear too much a compilation, in the style of Noel Deerr's classic History of Sugar (1949-1950) now almost 50 years old, though Daniels is immensely more conceptual and analytical.

Perhaps the best way to comprehend the vastness of Daniels' account is to lay out its structure. He begins with a technical discussion of the definition of agro-industries, and briefly discusses six examples. These are oil and oil seed crops, sugarcane and sugar making, paper, indigo, lacquer, and tea. Using this seemingly eclectic collection he throws light on general characteristics of Chinese technology, in the context of determining social and economic factors. All of this is designed partly to satisfy the desire to cover agro-industries generally and partly to illustrate the broader framework within which sugar exists.

Next Daniels tackles the broad pattern of consumption and production, applying to China the model constructed by Mintz to define the uses and functions of sugar in European history. In the Mintz model, sugar moves through a series of use-stages from medicine, to spice/condiment, decorative material, preservative, sweetner, and, finally, food or article of mass consumption. Daniels finds this model wanting for China. In the first place, he argues that sugar served a variety of purposes in China much earlier than in Europe. More importantly, he shows that China never experienced the final "staple food" or article-of-mass-consumption stage, and contends that this occurred in Europe as an aberration rather than a natural progression.

Consumption differs in other ways. In Europe, it is sugar that has dominated and that only in recent centuries. In China and India, and other parts of Asia and the Pacific, raw sugarcane and syrup, and sugar products have been consumed from ancient times. Further, Daniels notes that whereas Mintz did not treat sugar confectionery as a separate category, it appeared early in China. This development derived from the introduction of new sugar-making techniques from India in the 7th century when sugar began to replace honey. But the association of tea and sugar, so typically English as shown by James Walvin in his Fruits of Empire (1997), had no Chinese parallel. According to Daniels, "The Chinese have never indulged in English style morning and afternoon teas or desserts; they never changed their basic diet to accommodate sugar as a food. In short, sugar consumption in China did not presage or follow the path towards everyday usage paved by England after the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Rather consumption in China centred around special festive occasions, or for offering guests with tea" (p. 79).

The continuing emphasis on special occasions has prevented sugar becoming an article of everyday consumption, even in present-day China with its drive towards industrialization. Daniels explains this by the incredible diversity of foods available in China and the many substitute sweeteners. Concluding more generally, and counter to the drift of Mintz's interpretation, he contends that "the historical pattern of sugar consumption in China indicates that it was not just the differentiation of the five principal uses and their embedment in modern life that caused sugar to become a food of calorific importance." Rather, he suggests, "it was the poverty of the traditional European diet, and its inability to cope with changes in eating patterns caused by the Industrial Revolution, that promoted the use of sugar as a staple food" (p. 87). This is a challenging argument but might be disputed by the chronology, in that at least some accounts identify mass consumption by the English in advance of the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, the energy provided by sugar is sometimes seen as a cause of change rather than a consequence.

Following this detailed and fascinating discussion of consumption, Daniels turns to the more familiar territory of production. The general tendencies are first outlined in a sweeping history, from the beginnings in the 2nd century to 1930, relating changes in production to social and economic change. This approach results in some duplication, but the grand scale of the presentation requires guidance through the material, and this is certainly provided. Daniels identifies a "golden age" of Chinese sugar production from the mid-Ming to the late Ching, c.1500-1900. This long period was contemporaneous with the development of a slave-based plantation economy in the sugar industry of tropical America, but in China "sugarcane cultivation and sugar manufacture were always undertaken by tenant and owner-cultivator peasants working small plots of land" (p. 93). In the same way that sugar competed with other foods in the Chinese diet, so sugarcane had to compete with other crops in the agricultural system. It never became a monoculture. Daniels accepts that tenant farmers worked under various degrees of bondage, but knows "no case of slaves producing sugar in China." This gave sugar a completely different image, breaking the powerful alliteration "sugar and slavery" so securely cemented in the historiography of the Atlantic world.

Although sugarcane did not become a monoculture in China, Daniels recognizes areas of specialization. In the south, sugarcane became a popular crop after the 16th century, along with tobacco, indigo, and peanuts, particularly in areas of land clearance where internal migrants often carried the technologies. He also argues that the domestic trade in sugar had considerable significance for the coastal trade between north and south, perhaps even being the initiating commodity in the very creation of that trade. The trade expanded substantially in the 18th and 19th centuries. Another difference from the colonial Americas was that refining took place within the sugar producing regions of China rather than in the metropolitan centres. This pattern was greatly assisted by the use of portable crushing mills and boiling equipment. Further, unlike Europe, beet sugar did not compete with cane sugar in China until the 20th century.

All of this discussion helps to avoid the biological and technological determinism associated with much of the historiography of sugar in the Atlantic world. Although Daniels demonstrates successfully that significant elements of the sugar technology employed in the American tropics originated in China, he shows equally that the organization of production was fundamentally different in the two regions. China had neither the plantation nor slavery, and down to 1949 no central mill system or modern sugar factories. For Daniels, the reasons for this contrast were that "China experienced no industrial revolution to create a market for sugar as a food of the working class and, second, the economic rationality of Chinese peasants, principally their reluctance to part with their subsistence bases, made the amalgamation of small and scattered landholdings difficult in the absence of a strong government policy" (p. 128).

The outline history is followed by a series of highly specialized sections dealing with botany, agricultural technology, cane sugar manufacture, and the transfer of technologies from China. Each of these sections will have its particular scholarly following, although most Newsletter readers may find some of it heavy going. The vast knowledge and linguistic skill underpinning the account are however truly impressive, and we all stand indebted to Daniels for his synthesis and interpretation as well as the wealth of technical details. He has increased our ability to comprehend the possibilities of variation in sugar culture and manufacture, adding the China dimension that is largely lacking in the available general histories in English. It is possible here only to give but the slightest impression of the depth of the material.

Throughout these specialized sections, Daniels frequently comments on the sugar technologies of other parts of the world and often provides quite detailed discussions of those regions. He does this, for example, in an analysis of the development of planting techniques, in particular the cane-hole method that has a parallel history in China and the New World. But Daniels is no crude diffusionist. In some cases he argues a Chinese origin and transmission, in others the coincident adaptation to conditions of soil and climate. China is also a receiver of technologies, from India and beyond.

Daniels pays close attention to regional differences within China. South of the ranges, the absence of frosts in the sub-tropical zone, he argues, "freed individual cultivators from the need for owning their own sugar mills, because the warm winters allowed them to alter harvesting time to fit in with the mill's crushing schedule" (p. 246). This meant that the growers did not have to capitalize as much as those in the north, and resulted in the regional concentration of the sugar industry. North of the ranges, the threat of frost and the shortness of the growing season meant that cultivators had to have their own mills, in order to meet demands for urgent crushing. This regional climatic division extended its influence into many other areas, such as patterns of ratooning and crop rotation.

Manufacturing technology takes up the largest part of Daniels' account. Readers will already know some of his earlier work, published jointly with his father, such as "The Origins of the Sugarcane Roller Mill" in Technology and Culture (1988). In the volume under review, Daniels revises his hypotheses and concludes that "the sugarcane mill was introduced in a two-roller horizontal form from India to China, where gears were added and a vertical mode of roller mounting adopted." Around the close of the 16th century, "the vertical milling concept was conveyed to the New World, where engineers devised two- and three-roller within a short time of each other" (p. 337). This discussion is beautifully illustrated, as is the entire study. The illustrations are often essential to the argument as well as providing relief from the necessary technicality of the presentation.

The final section of Daniels' work is concerned with the transfer of Chinese sugar technology to east and southeast Asia, from the late 16th century to c.1850. In some places, notably the Philippines, Vietnam, Java, and Siam, Chinese migrants and entrepreneurs accompanied the transfer. Other countries, in the Ryukyu-Japan area, sent their own technicians to China to learn the technologies or simply read the manuals. The difference is important, because the absence of immigrants and the denial of instruction in the second group led to a greater innovative effort and experimentation. Overall, Daniels concludes that successful technologies spread on a global scale, generally along with the spread of people. The story of sugar, he argues, confirms the common view that Chinese technology was ascendant until the 18th century, after which it was outpaced by Europe.

By studying China in such close detail, and relating that country's experience to the wider world, Daniels has made a major contribution to understanding of the history of sugar. It is a wonderful achievement.

B. W. Higman
The Australian National University

The World Sugar History Newsletter is compiled by Jock Galloway and Peter Blanchard. Correspondence should be sent to Jock Galloway or Peter Blanchard, Victoria College, University of Toronto, 73 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1K7. E-mail: or Back issues of the WSHN can be found on its website at