Sugarcane originated on the Malay Peninsula and traveled to India before 500CE. The Persians brought it to Iraq in the 4th century, and there produced and refined sugar. Arab Muslims, after they conquered Persia in 640, introduced sugar cane to North Africa, Syria and Spain while perfecting the process of making sugar. Christian Europe was introduced to sugar in the 12th century, during the Crusades.
The western expansion of the Arabs during the 7th and 8th centuries marked the beginning of sugar in Europe and the West. By 760, 50 years after the Arabs arrived, sugarcane was growing in Spain. Arab settlers were expert farmers who developed sophisticated irrigation systems, some of which are still in use. In 1150, 30,000 hectares were dedicated to cane, and there were 14 sugar mills in Arab Granada alone. Sugar production of the Americas began with the transplanting of sugar cane from the Canary Islands by Christopher Columbus at the end of the 15th century.
The word sugar came to English from French, Spanish and/or Italian, which derived their word from the Arabic sukkar. This came from the Persian shakar (whence came the Portuguese açúcar, the Spanish azúcar, the Italian zucchero, the Old French zuchre and the contemporary French sucre.
Sugar played its part in SA Muslim history with Indian Muslims coming initially to SA to cultivate sugarcane in Natal.
A Sweet Gift of Muslims to the World!

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