toward the islands, Christopher Columbus brings in the West Indies, at
the end of the 15th
century, the sugar-cane, originally coming from Asia. The first plantations
were probably located in the Hispaniola island (Santo Domingo) from where
the first sugar shiploads were sent to Spain.
That is only during the 17th
century, somewhere around 1640, that an alcohol coming from sugar-cane,
or more exactly from molasses, a residue of the sugar manufacture, seems
to appear in different islands of the Caribbean (among others islands in
In the French West Indies colonies,
occupied since 1635, the first piece of writing speaking about an alcohol
associated to sugar manufacture is the one of Father Du Tertre (1667) who
fabricates a distilling apparatus for processing the scum and rough syrup
In the middle of the 17th
century, this alcohol coming from molasses was called guildive (term
coming from the British kill-devil) then tafia (African or
Amerindian term). A few years later, the term rum (or rhum in French) appeared
in the British West Indies.
The Galion sugar factory,
(French West Indies)
In 1694, Father Labat invents the
alembic (the still). A great number of sugar factories then extend the
plant to include a rum distillery.
obtained from molasses is a derivative product of the sugar manufacture
which by that way increase the value of the important quantities of molasses
born of sugar refining.
West Indies then became the booster of the development of sugar and rum
rum (or sugar-manufacture rum or as well sugar mill molasses rum) designates
therefore the alcohol resulting from distillery of molasses.
An independent rum manufacture activity
(independent of the sugar manufacture) was born in Martinique (French West
Indies) during the second half of the 19th
century. That was at this moment that the distilling column (which allow
a continuous distilling) appeared and start to replace the still.
At the end of the 19th century, confronted
with the collapse of the sugar rates, other markets must be found. Hence
appears the idea of producing a new rum, the agricultural
rum (or habitant rum), alcohol obtained by distilling the fresh, fermented
This alcohol coming from the fresh,
fermented cane juice is called Cachaça in Brazil. It differs
from the agricultural rum in particular by a longer fermentation process.