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A History of the World in Six Glasses

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Rebecca Jacobson

on 18 September 2012

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Transcript of A History of the World in Six Glasses

Throughout history, six beverages have influenced the formation of several different cultures, economies, conflicts, and societies, and they have impacted the interactions between various civilizations. The first beer was brewed between 10,000 BCE and 4000 BCE. Around 4300 BCE, villages began to band together, forming even larger towns and eventually cities. Around 3250 BCE, early cuneiform was developed. During 1000 BCE, Mesopotamians turned their backs on beer, which was dethroned as the most cultured and civilized of drinks, and the age of wine began. In 200 BCE, the Romans conquered the Greeks, but kept much of their culture. Beginning in 1440 CE, spirits fueled the slave trade because they were used as a form of currency among slave traders. In 1492 CE, The New world was discovered by Christopher Columbus, leading to an increase in resources for the expansion of trade. In 1789, The French Revolution was set in motion at the French coffeehouse, Cafe de Foy. At the end of the Opium War in 1842, the once powerful Chinese civilization began to crumble, demonstrating the legacy of tea's influence and British Imperialism. Around 1942, World War II led to the expansion of Coca Cola as the first truly global company. Interaction between humans and Environment
Development and Interaction of Culture
State building, expansion, and conflict
Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems
Development and Transformation of Social Structures Development and Interaction of Culture
Seen as a gift from the Gods, beer was used in religious ceremonies, agriculture, fertility rites, and funerals by the Sumerians and Egyptians.
Beer played a central role in the adoption of agriculture, the development of devices for storage, and the form of writing called cuneiform
Beer became a form of payment, which led to storing up and accumulating wealth, resulting in a social hierarchy
Beer was associated with a settled, orderly lifestyle, rather than a haphazard existence of hunter-gatherers.
"Wine was the basis of vast seaborne trade that helped spread Greek ideas far and wide....The spread of wine drinking continued under the Romans, the structure of whose hierarchical society was reflected in a minutely calibrated pecking order of wines and wine styles" (Standage 3).
"These drinks (spirits) became economic goods of such significance that their taxation and control became matters of great political importance and helped to determine the course of history" (Standage 97).
"Unlike beer, which was usually produced and consumed locally, and wine, which was usually made and traded within a specific region, rum was the result of the convergence of materials, people, and technologies from around the world, and the product of several interesting historical forces" (Standage 111).
Coffee is an example of interaction between cultures since it originated in Arabia but spread to Europe and all over the world.

The British tea trade allowed for mass interaction of different cultures and led to the Expansion of Britain's power across the globe.



Coca Cola symbolizes the advance of globalization, and cultural influence as it ultimately came to represent freedom, independence, and other seemingly "American" ideals and values. Beer In Mesopotamia and Egypt Wine in Greece and Rome Spirits in the colonial period Coffee in the Age of Reason: Tea and The British Empire: Coca-Cola and the Rise of America: An example of the extent to which cultures interacted in the late Eighteenth Century and early Nineteenth Century is found in the development of "soda waters." These fizzy beverages traveled from their place of origin in a brewery in England to other nations, including the United States, where Coca Cola was born. Cultural change is shown in soda as it began as a beverage used for medicinal purposes, but eventually evolved into a social beverage, often considered an alternative to alcohol. "Mesopotamians and Egyptians alike saw beer as an ancient, god-given drink that underpinned their existence, formed part of their cultural and religious identity, and had great social importance" (Standage 29). "Appreciation of different wines from different places began with the Greeks, and the link between the type of wine and social status was strengthened by the Romans" (Standage 90). Wine became a symbol of social differentiation. It marked wealth and status of the person drinking it. For the Greeks, the social drinking of wine also led to and encouraged philosophical discussions. Wine was closely associated with Christianity, but was outlawed in the Muslim faith. Distilled drinks played a central role in the slave trade, and the British, French, and Dutch's cultures interacted when they all established sugar plantations in the Caribbean and exchanged a range of products.
"Spirits played a role in the enslavement and displacement of millions of people, the establishment of new nations, and the subjugation of indigenous cultures" (Standage 129). "After permeating the Arab world, [coffee] had been embraced throughout Europe and was then spread throughout the world by European powers" (Standage 150).
Coffee demonstrates cultural change over time as it was first rejected by Europe and European societies, but later became accepted.
"The diffusion of rationalism throughout Europe was mirrored by the spread of coffee, which promoted clarity of thought" (Standage 134).
Coffee houses functioned as the information superhighway in the Age of Reason, allowing gossip, news, culture, and intelligence to circulate throughout Europe. .Evidence of coffee's role in cultural change is found in the fact that the French Revolution began in a coffee house. "From the top of British society to the bottom, everyone was drinking tea. Fashion, commerce, and social changes all played their part in the embrace of tea by the English" (Standage 196). "The rise of tea was entangled with the growth of Britian as a world power and set the stage for further expansion of its commercial and imperial might" (Standage 197). World History Themes in the book: Coca Cola epitomizes cultural interaction; first developed in the United States, this beverage has traveled worldwide and is a prime example of cultural diffusion. "Coca-Cola had taken over the United States; now it was ready to take over the world, going wherever American influence extended" (Standage 249).
"By setting up factories in the developing world, for example, companies from rich countries can reduce their costs, while also creating jobs and boosting the economy in the poorer countries where they are set up" (Standage 263). A History of the World in Six Glasses Citation Standage, Tom. A History of the World in 6 Glasses. New York: Walker &, 2005. Print. By Rebecca, Krupa, Marcus, Colin, and Josh
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