The World Sugar Industry and International Marketing
India is the first country known to have extracted sugar from sugar cane, perhaps 5,000 years ago. The ancient Sanskrit word sharkara became sukkar in Arabic, and by the eighth century the Arabs had brought cane cultivation and sugar production to Spain. For many centuries sugar was scarce enough to be prized, not as a sweetener or as food, but as a sedative. As late as the eighteenth century it was still rare and expensive and in 1736 sugar was listed with gemstones among the wedding gifts of the Empress Maria Theresa.