The First American Slave Plantation was a “Crack House”

The modern “C.D.S.” brand “Crack” was first used in reference to “Sugarcane” before “Cocaine”.

“Hard candy is nearly as hard to define as it is to chew. In the United States, the term describes a wide variety of sweets, including drops, fruit lozenges, peppermints, lollipops, sour balls, candy sticks and canes, and rock candy. Familiar American brands like Life Savers, Necco Wafers, Tootsie Pops, Boston Baked Beans, Red Hots, and Lemonheads use hard candy techniques boiling sugar to the “crack or “hard crack” stage to create specialized tastes.”

Source: The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

“Although almonds, candied fruits, marmalade, capers, and ostrich feathers also appear in the English records, Willan estimates that through the mid-1570s sugar “seems always to have constituted some 85 per cent of such imports by value.”872 Documents on Morocco from this period show that Moroccan sugar went overwhelmingly to England, as opposed to Spain, Portugal, France, or the Low Countries.”

Source: MOROCCO IN THE EARLY ATLANTIC WORLD, 1415-1603 A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History By Earnest W. Porta, Jr., J.D

“But in the midst of all of this, English merchants had been doing some business, finding there a market for their cloth and ready supplies of the sugar that is said to have destroyed Elizabeth’s teeth.But let’s get back to Morocco where, in the 1570s, trade took a new and interesting turn. Sugar had, as we know, long been the overwhelming mainstay of English imports, in chests, loafs, barrels of unrefined, and tons of molasses. It had been supplemented by almonds, goatskins, aniseed, capers, candied citrus peel, raisins, and ostrich feathers,”

Source: Thomas Dallam 2: The Anglo-Moroccan Relationship Thomas Dallam, Script

“Experimentation with sugar syrup was ongoing. A sort of cookie called aqras mukallala was glazed by dipping it into very thick syrup, and a new variety of lauzinaj was virtually the same as modern nougatine (sugar cooked without water to the hard crack stage, then stirred with almond paste. Hard candies (aqra slimun) had been invented and were colored red, yellow, or green, like lemon drops or life savers.”

Source: The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

“The Moors transmitted the Middle East’s knowledge of sweets to Europe during their occupation of Spain (717-1492) and Sicily (827-1224), starting with the culture of the sugarcane. Lauzinaj spread under a new name, makhshaban, giving European words for this product, such as Spanish mazapan and English marzipan. Along with knowledge of syrup the Moors passed on the technique of candying. A third-century Damascus cookbook titled Kitab al Wusla ila al-habib gives a recipe for for puff pastry under an Arabic name (muwarraqa) and a Spanish one (folyatil), both meaning “leafy,” which suggest that puff pastry might have been a joint invention of the Moors and the Spanish.”

Source: The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

“The Spanish had small sugar plantations on the Madeira Islands, which were a way station between Spain and the New World. When they brought sugar to the New World, it exploded. Sugarcane was brought into an environment in which it goes gangbusters. Sugar was a scarce commodity. Cane sugar in tea, cookies, and crumpets was unheard of 500 years ago. It was only a plaything of the rich and famous. Its appeal then is analogous to that of cocaine now. An incredibly valuable commodity imported from a faraway tropical location. But the Caribbean changed all that. By providing this commodity en masse, the Caribbean was the single region that changed the dietary consumption through the entire planet for the next 500 years.”

Source: The Plaid Avenger’s World By John Boyer

“But in the midst of all of this, English merchants had been doing some business, finding there a market for their cloth and ready supplies of the sugar that is said to have destroyed Elizabeth’s teeth. It’s hard to say how long exactly they had been doing this, but one important date is 1551, the year of Thomas Wyndham’s first voyage. Unfortunately, little can be said of this trip save that it seems to have been a success, for he was soon back again, the following year. This second journey apparently resulted in the trade of a “good quantity of linen and woolen cloth, coral, amber, jet, and diverse other things well accepted by the Moors,” and in the loading of the ships with “sugar, dates, almonds, and molasses.” But let’s get back to Morocco where, in the 1570s, trade took a new and interesting turn. Sugar had, as we know, long been the overwhelming mainstay of English imports, in chests, loafs, barrels of unrefined, and tons of molasses. It had been supplemented by almonds, goatskins, aniseed, capers, candied citrus peel, raisins, and ostrich feathers, but in 1572 a new product was explored: potassium-nitrate, otherwise known as saltpetre, and a necessary ingredient in the making of gunpowder.”

Source: Thomas Dallam 2: The Anglo-Moroccan Relationship Thomas Dallam, Script

“Sugar was a big business, a big deal. The point I am trying ti make about sugar’s impact on the Caribbean is this: When it became popular, everyone wanted to plant it everywhere, it was the crack cocaine of its day. It’s awesome; it gets great prices. People will pay anything for it. You can make buckets of money on it. However, as I suggested, it is very labor intensive. The plantation owners need lots of labor, and cheap labor is preferable. Cheap labor? How about free labor? Guess what that means? That’s right: slaves. “Hey guys, let’s enslave the local population! It’s the perfect solution! They tried. But most of the natives, as I pointed out in the Mexican section, died of European imported disease. It virtually wiped out everyone in the Caribbean before they even saw white dudes. The few that were left over got worked to death in very short order. Basically, the colonizers virtually wiped out the native populations of the Caribbean islands. So the colonizers were on the lookout. “We need more labor. Where are we going to get them? You already know the story. They found out that they could bring people over from Africa. This set up what is called the Triangle Trade.”

Source: The Plaid Avenger’s World By John Boyer

“1452: Start of the ‘sugar-slave complex’. Sugar is first planted in the Portuguese island of Madeira and, for the first time, African slaves are put to work on the sugar plantations.”

Source: Slavery Timeline 1400-1500 A Chronology of Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation in the Fifteenth Century

“Mendes’s chapter thus emphasizes the connections between the Portuguese expansion in Morocco, the beginnings of the slave trade in Senegambia and the growing use of slaves in the Atlantic islands with the beginning of the sugar economy around 1525.  The fact that commercial companies shared so much with others which were more clearly military in character underlines the idea that all these associations were to some extent based on the Christian discourse on fidelity (fidelitas).”

Source: From Al-Andalus to the Americas 13th-17th Centuries

“At first sugar was used as a medicine, but gradually came to be regarded as a luxury, and was partaken of only at special feasts. From Arabia through Egypt and finally by the Moors, sugar cane was introduced into Spain and the countries north of the Mediterranean Sea. In the fifteenth century cuttings were sent by the King of Portugal for planting in Madeira and Canary Islands. From the latter country the sugar cane was introduced into Brazil early in the sixteenth century, and then into the West Indies, principally in San Domingo. It was not introduced into the American Colonies until 1750 at which time an unsuccessful attempt was made, to make sugar, in Louisiana. In 1791, however, the sugar boilers were more successful. ” 

Source: The source, chemistry and use of food products By Edgar Henry Summerfield Bailey

“The sugar-cane, though at one time extensively cultivated, is now practically unknown in Morocco–whence it was formerly exported to Europe–the province of Dukalla being in those days known as Blad es-Sukkar, “the sugar country.” Idreesi speaks of the sugar of Sus, for which the district was famous, as the best in the world. Tarudant owed its early importance to this lucrative trade, and Agadir was coveted as the port of its shipment. Mills were built by Europeans, and Christian slaves were employed in its manufacture in the sixteenth century. A more attempt to revive the business I called to mind by the ruined sugar mill erected in the fifties for the Sultan by an English engineer, at the extreme point of the Agudal park at Marrakesh. Another product of bygone day was cotton, of which Idreesi says enough was produced round Tadla to supply all the Maghrib; and indigo was extensively grown in the Dra’a. Rice, too, has been and is still grown in the neighborhood of Fez, but whatever quantity of these three may now be raised, it is insignificant, as foreign importations have altogether superseded the native articles, except possibly in the far interior.”

Source: The Land of the Moors: A Comprehensive Description By Budgett Meakin

“A retrospect of the sugar industry in general, up to this epoch, will throw some light upon what subsequently took place in Cuba. Sugar production which had existed in Europe since some time in the ninth century, and had been extended by the Moors to all the southern part, of the Spanish peninsula in the eleventh, would naturally after the discovery of America, find its way to the more propitious climate of the West Indies. The Dutch, who had become familiar with it through their enterprising trade with the East, seem to have been the first to introduce it on a commercial scale in the Antilles, after their expulsion from Brazil by the Portuguese, about the year 1655.”



Islam in the African-American Experience

“Mervyn Hiskett describes the Islamic lands of West Africa as the area commonly referred to as “the west and central Sudan”…extending from the desert scrub in the “north” to the southern edge of savanna in the south. From west to east it extends across this scrub and savanna belt, from the Atlantic coast to the eastern shore of Lake Chad.”

“Arab and Berber Muslims from Egypt and North Africa first established contact with this area in the eighth century through the caravan trade across the Sahara, which was inhabited by Berber nomads and black town dwellers. The merchants initially involved in this trade were interested mostly in gold, ivory, and slaves, not in proselytizing.”

“By 990, however, the Arabic geographer al Muhallabi reported that the West African city of Gao had a mosque and a Muslim ruler. In the tenth century, the desert trading city of Tadmakatt was also an important source of Islamic ideas for West Africa. During the same period, the empire of Ghana, which was the center of the gold trade, already had a separate Muslim district and employed Muslims in governmental affairs, even though its ruler was a Soninke polytheist.”

“A-Bakri’s account of Ghana in the eleventh century indicates that the racial and cultural separatism characteristic of West African Islam was already evident in the capital city of this empire: The city of Ghana consists of two towns in a plain. One of these towns is inhabited by Muslims.”

“It is large with a dozen mosques in one of which they assemble for the Friday prayer. There are salaried imams and muezzins, as well as jurist and scholars… In the eleventh century, Islam first became a major factor in West African history when the orthodox “Muslim militants”-the Almoravids, led by Abu Bakr, organized the Sanhaja Berbers in a holy war against the non-Muslims in western Sudan.”

“The motivation for this jihad was economic as well as religious, for the Almoravids wanted to control the northern end of the desert caravan routes. Eventually, they succeeded in making Islam the official religion of the empire of Ghana and Islamicized some of the black kingdoms and towns in Sudan. Although historians dispute whether the Almoravids came to power in Ghana by military force or peaceful means, it is certain that they quickly lost their military and political advantages over the Soninke people and eventually became wandering scholars and preachers of Islam in Sudan.”

“Indeed, black Muslims in West Africa were not seriously affected by the military power of the Muslims world again until the Moroccan invasion of Songhay in the sixteenth century. The Arab and Berber advance in West African societies often occurred in subtle stages over a long period of time.”

“First, Muslims established contact with Sudan as visiting merchants and craftspeople to obtain slaves and precious minerals. Eventually, some of these merchants would settle in a permanent trading outpost in West African towns and villas as African leaders began to  perceive the advantages of economic ties with North Africa and the Middle East. These immigrant merchants and craftspeople were the first representatives of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Although the impression of these different Muslims influenced the West African black ruling elite and merchants to convert to Islam, they had little impact on the traditional religous praxis of West African peoples in rural areas before modernity. The racial seperatism of West African Islam resulted from the signfiication of black Muslim identiies by rich and poowerful black rulers who attempted to reconcile their new religion with African traditional religous cultural praxis.

“Thus, as we shall see, North African and Middle Eastern Muslims and blacks were deliberarely segregated from each other in seperate residential areas in West African cities and towns, to ensure that Islam would be used to the economic, political and cultural advantage of black ruling elites. In the Muslim state of Takur (inhabited by the Tukolor people), the Jolof empire of the Wolof, the Senegambian villages and towns established by Mande traders, Mali, Songhay, the issues of signification and seperatism were played out in the context of West African Islam.”

“In these locations West African Muslims attempted to defined their identities both as Muslims and as ethnic people in light of the competition between their allegienace to the religions and cultures of their ethnic groups and the beliefs and practices of orthodox Islam from North Africa and the Middle East.”

Forty years later, Mansa Musa’s fame had spread to Europe as map-makers put Mali on the Catalan map of West Africa and referred to its ruler as “Lord of the Negroes of Guinea.” They described his country’s gold as “so abundant…that he is the richest and most noble king in all the land. Mansa Musa had inherited the mantale of leadership from a long line of black Muslim kings from the Kieta clan of the Mandinka cheifdoms. This line included Sundita (c.1230-1255), a Mandinka Muslim convert who had bult the vast empire of Mali on the ruins of Ghana, thus unifiying the Mandinka people; Mans Uli, the son of Sundiata, wo was the first in his Askiya Benkan was abruptly replaced by Askiya Ismail in 1537.”

“Political stability returned to Songhay from 1539 to 1591 under the ruler of Askiya Iskaq I and Askiya Daud. Some of the political tensions in sixteenth-century Songhay resulted from different rulers efforts to reconcile Islam, the relgion of the urban ruling elite, with the African cultural particularism of the traditional religions which were also practiced by the rulers and the peasants.”

“This tension between orthodox Islam and African cultural particularism was at the heart of what made West African Islam a vibrant and distincitive religous tradition in the world of Islam. Although West African Muslims had signifiedi themselves as the people they wanted to be through their embrace of Islam and seperarated themselves from the judgments of non-black Muslims from North Africa, they could not united politiclaly and militarily to sustain their powerful Isslamic empires in the modern era. On the even of modernity, Islam in Wet Africa was destined for radical changes, although its themes of radical cultural particularism, singification, and jihad were destined to live on as a paradigm endemic to global Islam, and would later be utilized by black Muslims in America.” 

“In 1591, the Songhay empire fell when it supposed ally, Morocco, invaded the country to seize its salt mines. Although Songhay had carefull developed diplomatic and cultural ties with North Africa, the Moroccan sultan wanted complete control over the salt mines, gold, and slaves of the Sudan, which legally belonged, in part, to Songhay. This was a watershed event in West African history for several reasons.”

“First, it signaled the end of the mighty economic and political power of the empires that had sustained West African Islam.”

“Second, Timbuktu, the great West African city, declined as black Muslim intellectual center.”

“Third, the focus of West African Islam changed radically as Islam centered a period of decline which lasted until the nineteenth century.”

“Fourth, the fall of Songhay signaled the beginning of modernity, during which cataclysmic changes in the instittion of slavery wre destined to change the fortunes of African peoples in the world. By the beginnnig of the sixteenth century, it became clear to informed observers that Arab Muslims had a seperate and radical agenda for black Muslims in West Africa.”

“They were enslaving them in record numbers under the banner of jihad and taking control of the rich mineral resourcs of their lands. This was clearly against the laws of Islam. The issue of the enslavement of West African Muslims by their Arab co-religionist had still not been resolved in 1614 when Ahmad Baba, a Muslim scholar from Timbuktu, wrote a legal interpreation of the issue: Whoever is captured in a condition of non belief, it is legal to own him, whosoever he maby be, but not he was converted to Islam voluntarily from the start, to any nation he belongs, whether it is Bornu, Kano, Songhai, Katsinsa, Gobir, Mali and some of Zakzak. These are free Muslims, whose enslavement is not allowed in nay way.” 


Source: Islam in the African-American Experience By Richard Brent Turner

Culture and Customs of Ghana


“The religous identity of Muslims is more easily ascertained by their outward appearance and actions than that of Christians. Their dress, suh as agbada robes, represents part of the traditional dress of northerners, but is also similiar to the dress of other Muslims throughout West Africa. The architecture of northern Ghana, especially that of some mosques, is derived from the Islamic architecture of Western Sudan.”

“The Hausa from Nigeria, a predominalty Islamic group, have had an impact of the development of northern Ghanaian society. Hausa and Muslims identity are closely linked in the minds of many Ghanians. Many Muslim customs and actions are associated with the Hausa. The Hausa lnaguage spread throughout the West African region during the trans-Saharan trade and is still commonly used in northern Ghanaian Islamic schools. Many non-Muslim Ghanaians refer to northerners, regardless of ethnicity or religion, using the generic term, “Hausa”.

“Muslims have created national groups to represent their interest. Like the umbrella Christian organizations, the Muslim Representative Council of Ghana manages religious, social, and economic conflicts that affect their religious brethren. Together with the Chrisitan groups, they have worked to maintain a harmonious relationship between followers of the two religions. When Islam was first introduced into northern Ghana, it brought with it a system of writing, a new language, and institutions of formal education. At least a basic comprehension of Arabic, the language of the Qur’an, is still required of Muslims everywhere. Islamic education in northern Ghana, however, has received little assistance from the national government, not enough attention from Muslim societies.”

“Many young Muslims in Ghana today have to look elsewhere to receive an Islamic education, especially at the advanced levels. Growing contacts with the rest of the Islamic world have opened up new opportunities for young Ghanaians. Increasing numbers of students have been receiving full scholarships to go to Islamic countries in North Africa or the Middle East to attain their university education.”

Source: Culture and Customs of Ghana