Ancient world

The Impact of Beverages on the History of the World

  • 4300 BCE

    Beer: Early Economy

    Beer: Early Economy
    Starting in 4300 BCE, the world's first economic system began to take shape. Before there was any form of currency, trade began between the newly formed cities of the fertile crescent. Cities such as Uruk, Ur, Lagash, Eridu, and Nippur (later to become the more commonly known Memphis and Thebes) started using bread and beer as currency, resulting in one of the first forms of cultural diffusion and creating an economy in the Fertile Crescent.
  • 4000 BCE

    Beer: Ceremonial Use

    Beer: Ceremonial Use
    As beer became more widespread, many different theories came into play as to how the beverage got into the hands of humanity. Most theories credited the God(s) the region worshiped. This, in turn, brought beer into the religious aspect of the world. Egyptians and Sumerians both used beer in religious ceremonies, as offerings to the Gods, at funerals, and more. Many important historical conflicts have occurred over religious beliefs, that of which were shaped by those from the first settlements.
  • 3400 BCE

    Beer: Early Money

    Beer: Early Money
    While the economy originated from trade amongst the cities in the Fertile Crescent, the beginning stages of developing a common currency began a few centuries later. The residents of ancient Mesopotamia dried clay in different sized circular tokens much like our modern American change. They then brought it to the the places of worship for their ration and it was put in a clay envelope and stored. Later on the tokens were used instead to stamp clay tablets as a way of keeping transaction records.
  • 3200 BCE

    Beer: Early Writing

    Beer: Early Writing
    Writing evolved from the idea of stamping coins into clay tablets that was previously used, and over time it turned into many separate writing systems. The first form of writing is believed to be from Sumerian descent. Egypt soon after developed their own, although it's hard to say whether or not it was influenced by Sumerian writing. With a new writing system and the previous process of stamping coins into clay tablets, coins were almost completely cut out of society in the Fertile Crescent.
  • 2500 BCE

    Beer: The start of social hierarchy

    Beer: The start of social hierarchy
    Social hierarchy exists to some degree in all societies throughout history, and those in the Fertile Crescent at this time were no exception. The distribution of beer was decided based on what job an individual performed in society. The more important the job was, the more beer they got in return. This created one of the first social pyramids in the Fertile Crescent region.
  • 430 BCE

    Wine: Trade

    Wine: Trade
    An early form of trade first became dominant when wine was in high demand. Because grapes weren't available for making wine in all areas of the known world, it had to be imported. In the early stages, it was sent down the river in big boats, so big they couldn't be transported on land to be reused. Later on, wine transportation grew to be similar to how we transport packages today. All the trade that began due to wine united different regions and began the process of cultural diffusion.
  • 212 BCE

    Wine: Cultural Diffusion

    Wine: Cultural Diffusion
    In the eyes of the Greeks, there was only one way to drink wine. And that was with sophistication. Parties, known as symposion were held for people to drink wine the civil Greek way. Over time, the ideal image of how to drink one was spread throughout the area and places such as Rome held their own version of a symposion. The exchange of the idea of how to drink wine the "right" way is cultural diffusion in the early world.
  • 128 BCE

    Wine: Legal System

    Wine: Legal System
    Sumptuary laws began to be passed limiting the ability of a rich citizen to buy certain amounts of wine. Evidently, they were rarely followed, based on how many laws were passed. These laws restricted how much money could be spent on food or entertainment for each day in a month and regulated what type of meat could be served. Furthermore, these sumptuary laws were the basis of our current day forms of government and legal systems.
  • 121 BCE

    Wine: Social Hierarchy

    Wine: Social Hierarchy
    As wine became more and more relevant in the ancient world, it was discovered that different grapes from different areas made for differing tastes. But, nothing changed the taste as drastically as aging the wine. Longer aged wines could only be afforded by the rich portion of the population. The more money one had, the better the wine they drank. Wine became a symbol of social status and it soon became an embarrassment to offer a man wine cheaper than what he usually drinks.
  • 170

    Wine: Early Medicine

    Wine: Early Medicine
    In ancient Rome, wine was used for medicinal purposes as well as for leisurely drinking. At first, wine was just used to sterilize lacerations to the skin because it has antibacterial properties that fight infection. But later on, wine was used in mixtures of certain resources claiming to heal illness. Eventually, it became common belief that drinking high end wine every day would keep an individual healthy. The medicinal uses for wine seemed to have influenced our medicine in today's time.
  • 1270

    Spirits: Education System Develops

    Spirits: Education System Develops
    The first universities and medical schools came about in the late thirteenth century. All throughout Europe, secondary schools were popping up, ultimately influencing the amount of people getting an education and making the possibility of an education available to more people. This was only the beginning of a major transition in the educational system.
  • 1300

    Spirits: Advanced Technology

    Spirits: Advanced Technology
    It was soon discovered that distilling wine can make an even stronger liquor. With this discovery, distilleries and new agriculture cultivating technology was introduced. With spirits in high demand, slightly different drinks were created based on what crops were in surplus in different parts of the world. Other advancements were made during this time, such as the development of astrolabe, algebra, the modern numeral system, anesthetics, and the compass.
  • 1440

    Spirits: Slave Trade/ Common Currency

    Spirits: Slave Trade/ Common Currency
    As spirits became more popular, workers were needed to keep supplying the demand . Distillers turned to slavery to keep their businesses afloat. African slaves were bought to be used in various parts of the world and were payed for in spirits. In the grand scheme of things, spirits has a big impact on accelerating slave trade which has major historical significance.
  • 1492

    Spirits: Exploration

    Spirits: Exploration
    Imports were in high demand by distillers to continue to make their spirits. The amount of time required to transport the products wasn't ideal for companies with high demand. This, in turn, motivated explorers to find shorter routes. While in the process of devise new routes, a whole new land mass was discovered, The Americas. With great hopes for the new world, people willingly inhabited this area, creating the first colonies that eventually led to the USA and the countries in South America.
  • Coffee: Advancements Toward Equality

    Coffee: Advancements Toward Equality
    It was a rule in coffeehouses that one is to leave their social status at the door. This allowed for conversation to occur between nobles and the poverty stricken people of the land. This was one of the first times in history in which equality for all people was seen, except for women. This small advancement toward equality was the taste the lesser people needed to create a beneficial movement to change some parts of our world into a society of equals.
  • Coffee: Connected Communities

    Coffee: Connected Communities
    Coffeehouses allowed everyone to talk to each other and soon became known the place where recent gossip is exchanged and the latest news can be heard. This allowed for everyone in the community to be on the same page. The coffeehouses played a big role in creating the some of the first connected communities.
  • Tea: Increase on Imports

    Tea: Increase on Imports
    Eventually, tea imports from the East Indies, what is now Indonesia, became more widespread. The high demand on tea created for a big marketplace for the merchants who sold it and the farmers who cultivated it. With the increase in imports, trade increase drastically throughout the world.
  • Coffee: Scientific Advancements

    Coffee: Scientific Advancements
    Many of the most impactful scientists originated in the same time period as coffee. Coffeehouses provided a perfect place to share ideas and challenge old Greek scientific philosophy. The equation for movement of celestial bodies around the sun was inspired by a quarrel in a coffeehouse. In the age of reason, science was rewritten giving us the basic scientific principals we still build off of in today's time.
  • Coffee: Financial Advancement

    Coffee: Financial Advancement
    The environment in coffeehouses made for a perfect location to share ideas and discuss controversial topics such as politics. While many ideas never reached execution, some are still successful today. For example, the stock market and insurance. The stock market started out in Coffeehouses where a money was collected and names were put on a list of investors. Insurance also originated in an old coffeehouse until both became their own monopoly and expanded outside the walls of old Coffeehouses.
  • Spirits: Rebellion

    Spirits: Rebellion
    After the USA won their independence from Britain, they had to make up for the debt the Revolutionary War had imposed. Alexander Hamilton made a movement to put an excise on whiskey which is made primarily in the South. When the law was passed a group of southern distillers banned together, forming what is to become known as the "Whiskey Boys". Eventually, the Philadelphia Militia was sent to settle the conflict and the whiskey excise was revoked.
  • Tea: Smuggling Tea

    Tea: Smuggling Tea
    Tea was so expensive and tax was high causing no one to want to buy it. It was out for reach for many people on the poorer end of society. Many people started smuggling tea into countries and selling it. This was popular because the tea had no tax on it making it cheaper and more affordable to the people with lesser sums of money in the community. Smuggling in tea was illegal and undermined the tea trade company who had great influence on the British government, so they passed preventative laws.
  • Tea: First Steps Toward Independence

    Tea: First Steps Toward Independence
    The American colonists wanted to have trade without the influence of London. So they boycotted all British goods, refusing to pay their taxes to prove a point. They thought it was wrong of Britain to be handing the East India Company a monopoly and feared what might happen to them. In protest, a group of men dressed as Indians boarded ships in the Boston harbor and dumped 3 shiploads of tea the into the water, staging one of the most infamous protests in history, known as the Boston Tea Party.
  • Tea: Revolutionary War

    Tea: Revolutionary War
    The Revolutionary War between the American Colonies and Britain occurred as a result of the Coercive acts. Which was a series of laws passed placing taxes on more and more items. The goal was to get the colonists to pay taxes somehow and to gain more control of them but they continued to boycott all British goods. As more and more tea parties happened and the Coercive acts continued, eventually war broke out. Ultimately resulting in American independence.
  • Tea: War over Trade

    Tea: War over Trade
    Britain wanted to control tea trade, and the only thing stopping them was the Dutch. Multiple wars were held between the British and the Dutch over the Dutch East India Company and its successes in tea trade. Eventually, the British overcame the Dutch and a few years later the Dutch East India Company dissolved, making way for a the British East India Company.
  • Coffee: The French Revolution Set in Motion

    Coffee: The French Revolution Set in Motion
    As more people attended coffeehouses and discussed matters such as politics, they began to speak out against their King. The Assembly of Notables consisted the clergy, aristocrats, and magistrates, all of whom met up in a coffeehouse one day to listen Jacques Necker, the former finance minister of the King and the most trusted politician by the public. It was at the Café de Foy that the French Revolution was set in motion by Camille Desmoulins when he cried out to the public for a rebellion.
  • Coca-Cola: New Technology

    Coca-Cola: New Technology
    New factories and machinery were built to make the process of making coca-cola more efficient. But, not only were new forms of industrialized machinery invented, some things were renovated to be used for the selling of coca-cola, making them into what they are today. For example, radios, which were used before in houses to stay up on the important news and listen to music, they were now used for advertising purposes too. Which is very similar to how they're used today.
  • Coca-Cola: Newspaper Industry Boomed

    Coca-Cola: Newspaper Industry Boomed
    Now that a new medicinal drink had been invented, the company had to advertise it. They rented out space in the newspaper to reach as many Americans as possible. Other companies with medicinal drinks followed and took out space in the newspaper, ultimately causing for a big boom in the newspaper industry. More people would read the newspaper to see the latest medicinal creations. Allowing for the money obtained by the newspaper companies to assist in reaching more and more Americans.
  • Coca-Cola: Patriotism

    Coca-Cola: Patriotism
    Coca-cola represented American culture and soon enough it became a symbol for American patriotism. The coca-cola company sold their drink to soldiers for five-cents. Soldiers said it kept them morally correct and reminded them of home while they were at war. Eventually, fountains were built to provide fresh coca-cola for the troops without having to pay the shipping cost.
  • Coca-Cola: Protests

    Coca-Cola: Protests
    The people of France protested American morals by smashing the bottles of coca-cola that were imported. Coca-cola represented American style of life and the people of France feared their own morals were being compromised by those of the Americans. Protests continued as different ethnic groups and countries disagreed with the actions of the coca-cola company.
  • Coca-Cola: Boycotts

    Coca-Cola: Boycotts
    Coca-cola was set up to be the official drink of the Olympics in Moscow when the United States decided to boycott the Olympics. The boycott was put into action because the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. This was only one of many boycotts on both sides to come. Many ethnic groups and countries boycotted coca-cola at one point in recent history because they disagreed with something the company did. Boycotts are a staple in many important historical events and a common form of protest.