A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN SIX GLASSES // Ryan Hill

  • 100

    The Neolithic Revolution (10,000 BCE)

    The Neolithic Revolution (10,000 BCE)
    Prior to the Neolithic Revolution, humans in the Near East lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. They were nomadic, & moved around to wherever there was arable land and animals to hunt. However, in 10,000 BCE, humans settled down and formed farming communities, which eventually became early examples of cities. These cities were able to form due to surplus farming, allowing people to buy food rather than hunting for it themselves, thus giving humans more time to invent things like pottery & writing.
  • 101

    The Discovery of Cereal Grains (10,000 BCE)

    The Discovery of Cereal Grains (10,000 BCE)
    The discovery of beer came after the widespread gathering of wild cereal grains in the Fertile Crescent. These grains were unique in that they could be stored for years "if kept dry and safe". They were often used to make soup. The discovery of these grains and their long shelf life contributed to the Neolithic Revolution because humans were reluctant to leave their stock unguarded.
  • 102

    The Discovery of Beer (sometime after 10,000 BCE)

    The Discovery of Beer (sometime after 10,000 BCE)
    When humans first began to store grain, one thing they struggled with was keeping their storage receptacles perfectly watertight. Once grains started to get wet, the Mesopotamians and Egyptians realized that the wet grains tasted sweet. This is due to an enzyme that the cereal grains release when they get wet, called maltose. Later, the humans found that gruel made with malted grain fermented into a fizzy and alcoholic drink, beer.
  • 103

    The Improvement of Beer (sometime after 10,000 BCE)

    The Improvement of Beer (sometime after 10,000 BCE)
    Once the Mesopotamians and Egyptians found that fermented gruel creates beer, they set out to improve the recipe & the quality. Through trial & error, they figured out that more maltose means more sugar, & that a longer fermentation period leads to a stronger, more alcoholic beer. They also learned that by cooking the gruel & adding more barley grains, there is more sugar for the yeast to turn into alcohol. Finally, by adding various spices & berries to the beer, they could create new flavors.
  • 104

    Earliest Physical Evidence of Wine (5,400 BCE)

    Earliest Physical Evidence of Wine (5,400 BCE)
    When humans started to store food in pottery, they found that grapes and their juices would leave a red residue in the container. The first instance of this was in a Neolithic village (Haiji Firuz Tepe) in the Zagros Mountains. The residue was dated to 5,400 BCE. From here, the knowledge of wine spread through Greece, Anatolia (currently Turkey), the Middle East, as well as into Africa.
  • 105

    Distillation (4,000 BCE)

    Distillation (4,000 BCE)
    Although distillation can be considered an achievement of the Arabs, they did not invent it, they simply improved it. Distillation is process in which a drink is vaporized and then condensed. This purifies the drink and "separate[s]... its constituent parts". Distilltion was invented by the Mesopotamians in the fourth millenium BCE as a way to make perfume. However, the Arabs used it to make stronger wine.
  • 108

    Wine and Egyptian Tombs (3,150 BCE)

    Wine and Egyptian Tombs (3,150 BCE)
    When an early ruler of Egypt, King Scorpion I, was buried, seven hundred jars of wine were imported from the southern Levant (Middle East) to be put in his tomb. Wine making scenes were very popular in tomb paintings, giving the appearance that wine was a common beverage. However, as tombs were exclusive to only the wealthiest Egyptians, the paintings are not indicative of Egyptian society as a whole. Most Egyptians and Mesopotamians drank beer instead.
  • 109

    Beer in Literature (2,700 BCE)

    Beer in Literature (2,700 BCE)
    As the mainstream adoption of beer coincided with the invention of cuneiform, beer was considered "a hallmark of civilization" and was also featured in many pieces of literature. An example is in the Epic of Gilgamesh. An excerpt from the book states that "[Gilgamesh] drank the beer- seven jugs!- and became expansive and sang with joy." The Mesopotamians included many "playful and humorous" references to intoxication in their literature, while the Egyptians strongly disapproved of being drunk.
  • 109

    The First Cup of Tea (2700 BCE)

    The First Cup of Tea (2700 BCE)
    Tea was first brewed by the second in a line of legendary Chinese emperors, Shen Nung. However, this was only one of his numerous accomplishments. These include agriculture, the plow, and medicinal herbs. Legend says that Shen Nung was fueling a fire using a wild tea bush, when some of the leaves fell into the water he was boiling. He drank the water and said the resulting beverage was "delicate", "refreshing", energizing, and "gladdens and cheers the heart".
  • 110

    Ashurnasirpal's Feast (870 BCE)

    Ashurnasirpal's Feast (870 BCE)
    In 870 BCE, King Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria held a feast to celebrate the creation of his new capital, Nimrud. Typically, the Mesopotamian drink of choice at these events would be beer. However, depictions of this event show Ashurnasirpal drinking a golden bowl of wine. The wine was used as a massive display of his wealth, as wine was expensive to import into Mesopotamia. As a result of Ashurnasirpal's feast, wine becaame an "elaborate and formal social ritual" in Assyria.
  • 111

    Greece & Persia (800 BCE)

    Greece & Persia (800 BCE)
    By 800 BCE, the Greeks and barbaric Persians started to grow apart due to a growing linguistic barrier. The Persians spoke a language that sounded like "incomprehensible babbling" to the Greeks. The Persian Empire included Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, and modern day Turkey. Initially, Athens and Sparta, both Greek city states, were united against Persia. However, later on, Persia acted as an ally to both states as they fought against each other.
  • 112

    The Increased Prevalence of Wine (785 BCE)

    The Increased Prevalence of Wine (785 BCE)
    Under Ashurnasirpal, wine had improved and become more widespread throughout ancient civilization. Through the establishment of larger states and empires, wine production was increased, and there were fewer borders to cross into new places, which decreased the amount it was taxed. Wine started to be transported by sea, thus increasing its global reach. All of these factors led to wine losing its exotic status, making it useless as a tribute item.
  • 113

    Wine Trade (430 BCE)

    Wine Trade (430 BCE)
    Due to not only the "heavy and perishable nature" of wine that prevented land transport, but also the fact that local wine production wasn't feasible in Mesopotamia, the Mesopotamians harnessed the power of the Tigris and Euphraes rivers to import wine. Mesopotamians used "rafts or boats made from wood and reeds." According to Herodotus, a Greek historian, "[Mesopotamia's] chief freight [was] wine." Although this transport method made wine importing slightly easier, wine was still expensive.
  • 114

    Chinese Currency (600 CE)

    Chinese Currency (600 CE)
    Tea trade had a major effect on the Chinese economy. The tea industry had grew in "size and value... during the seventh century", neccessitating a new form of currency to make this trade easier. This was a new invention: paper money. Another new form of currency at this time was tea bricks. The tea bricks provided "a light and compact store of value that could also be consumed if necessary." The tea bricks also increased in value as they were taken further away from China.
  • Period: 114 to 115

    The Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE)

    The Tang Dynasty is what many historians would categorize as a "Golden Age". During this period, China grew not only in area, but in wealth and population. The population exceeded 50,000,000 people by 755 CE, and the capital city Changan housed 2,000,000 people. Changan was a major cultural and trade center, with the Silk Road coming through the city, and being in close proximity to water routes to India, Japan, and Korea. Through these trade routes, fashion, food, and culture came to China.
  • 115

    Cordoba (970 CE)

    Cordoba (970 CE)
    The most cultured city at the end of the first millenium was Cordoba, located in what is currently southern Spain. With "parks, palaces, roads, oil lamps, seven hundred mosques, three hundred public baths, and extensive drainage and sewage systems," Cordoba was a very impressive city for the time, boasting an equally impressive library, with "nearly half a million books". This was all in addition to a wealth of invetions, including Algebra, herb based medicine, and the magnetic compass.
  • 116

    Coffee's Origin (1400 CE)

    Coffee's Origin (1400 CE)
    Before coffee became popular in the European world, it was known for a long time in the Arab world, where it originated. One possible story is about an Ethiopian goatherd who found his goats had become quite energetic after "consuming the brownish purple cherries from a particular tree." The goatherd ate some and noticed that they had "stimulating powers." He revealed this information to a local religious leader, who used it to create a new hot drink to keep him awake for late night ceremonies.
  • 117

    The Spread of Distillation (1430 CE)

    The Spread of Distillation (1430 CE)
    Distilled drinks were originally used for medicinal purposes. However, with the invention of the printing press, the knowledge of distillation spread, and distilled drinks began to be consumed for recreational purposes. The printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1430s. The appeal of distilled drinks was their ability to get oneself intoxicated "quickly and easily". They also allowed powerful alcoholic drinks to be produced inexpensively and with local ingredients. (ex. whiskey)
  • 118

    Portuguese Slave Trade (1440 CE)

    Portuguese Slave Trade (1440 CE)
    To produce the sugar needed for spirits, the Europeans acquired sugar plants from the Arabs during the Crusades. However, they lacked experience in growing sugar, and they needed assistance to meet demand. They got this assistance from African slaves shipped by the Portuguese. The slaves were initially abducted from their homeland, however the Portuguese eventually worked out a trade agreement with Africa in which the slaves were traded for European goods.
  • 119

    Coffee Prohibition (1511 CE)

    Coffee Prohibition (1511 CE)
    As the general public began to consume more coffee, many Muslim scholars argued that although it lacked alcohol, coffee was an intoxicating drink and thus should be restricted in the same manner as wine, and other alcoholic drinks, which as the book states, "the prophet Muhammad had prohibited." The rule was officiated in Mecca in June 1511. Governor Kha'ir Beg put coffee on trial and tested its alleged ability to intoxicate. After this, all coffee was seized and coffee vendors were punished.
  • Period: 120 to 121

    Coffeehouse Culture (16th Century CE)

    Kha'ir Beg may not have been able to persuade his superiors to ban coffee, but they did agree that coffeehouses were reason to worry. Typical conversations at coffeehouses were of "gossip, rumor, political debate, and satirical discussion." Also, coffeeshops were "popular venues for chess and backgammon, which were regarded as morally dubious." This earned coffeeshop goers the reputation of having bad morals and a desire to overthrow the government. This led to the shutdown of many coffeehouses.
  • Period: 120 to 121

    Questioning Traditional Beliefs (16th Century CE)

    During the 17th century, European philosophers and scientists began to question what they had been taught, such as geocentrism, the heart being the body's furnace, and heavy objects falling faster than lighter ones. Scientists such as Galileo Galilei (of Italy) and Francis Bacon (of England) "rejected blind faith in ancient texts in favor of direct observation and experiment." Bacon wished to "rebuild" human knowledge from scratch, as he felt society would get nowhere by adding to old views.
  • 122

    Coffee's Popularity in Europe (1600 CE)

    Coffee's Popularity in Europe (1600 CE)
    The new knowledge spreading throughout Europe correlated with the spread of a new type of drink called coffee. According to the book, "[coffee] became the preferred drink of scientists, intellectuals, merchants, and clerks." Reasons for coffee's rise to popularity include the energy given through caffeine, as well as the intellectual and calm culture it promoted. Coffee began to replace beer as the first drink of the day, as coffee made people "alert and stimulated" instead of intoxicated.
  • 123

    The Precursor to Coca Cola (1767 CE)

    The Precursor to Coca Cola (1767 CE)
    By the 20th century, carbonated soda drinks were far from a new invention. They weren't an American invention either. Soda's precursor was produced in 1767 by British scientist Joseph Priestley in Leeds, England. After seeing the bubbling gas that was created by the process of fermentation, Priestley decided to learn more about the properties of this gas. He found that the gas could dissolve into the water, and create "exceedingly pleasant sparkling water."
  • 124

    The British Empire and the Industrial Revolution(1773 CE)

    The British Empire and the Industrial Revolution(1773 CE)
    As Sir George McCartney said in 1773, "[England is a] vast empire on which the sun never sets." The English empire grew to cover 20% of the Earth (India, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and contained 25% of the total world population. England had made many advances in the world of manufacturing. One of which was the introduction of machines into the factory atmosphere. Powered by steam engines, these machines would "amplify human skill". This new era was called the Industrial Revolution.
  • 125

    Tea Trade (sometime after 1773 CE)

    Tea Trade (sometime after 1773 CE)
    When the British increased their production speeds, they began to grow a surplus of commodities that they could trade with the East. In exchange, the East (particularly China) gave them a drink that would soon become associated with the British; tea. Tea started off as the exclusive domain of the British elite, but soon became fuel for the industrial workers of the empire. Most of the British empire knew nothing of tea's foreign origins. Tea soon became the world's second most consumed beverage.
  • 126

    The Assembly Line (19th Century CE)

    The Assembly Line (19th Century CE)
    Before the Industrial Revolution occurred, the predominant way to manufacture goods was to have an experienced craftsman work on them every step of the way. During the Industrial Revolution, the manufacturing process was divided into several stages, where there would be multiple workers passing partially finished objects down the factory line. In America, after the Industrial Revolution, factories employed specialized machines to manufacture the parts, and left only the assembly to the humans.
  • 127

    America Becomes an Economic Superpower (1865 CE)

    America Becomes an Economic Superpower (1865 CE)
    As the Civil War ended it left America as a single market, America's journey to becoming a superpower began, knocking England from its spot as the industrial leader. The book states that "by 1900, the American economy had overtaken Britain's to become the largest on Earth." America's economy was so powerful, that during the 20th century, they used it to intervene in the wars of other countries. America even won the Soviet War because of the fact that the Soviets couldn't afford to fight anymore.
  • 128

    Coca Cola & American Freedom (20th Century CE)

    Coca Cola & American Freedom (20th Century CE)
    Throughout the twentieth century, Americans craved freedom from the political and socioeconomic forms of oppression affecting them. Coca Cola came to be a symbol of these freedoms, due to its strong association with the American culture. Another reason that Coca Cola became a symbol of American freedom was the decision by Robert Woodruff, Coca Cola's president, to send bottles to soldiers for five cents. This proved popular, as they called Coca Cola an "essential morale building product."
  • 129

    The Rise of Bottled Water (2002 CE)

    The Rise of Bottled Water (2002 CE)
    In many societies, a mistaken belief exists that bottled water is safer or cleaner to drink than tap water, despite the fact that water is completely purified in developed nations, and that most bottled waters are derived from "municipal water supplies". That hasn't stopped companies from making billions of dollars off of the increasingly fashionable product. The aesthetic value of bottled water has made it more expensive than gasoline in many cases.