Molasses Empire

Many cultures spread along with their crops. Wheat and Barley east and west from Mesopotamia, Rice west from China, and the agonizingly slow crawl of Maize north and south from Central America. But no spread of crops and ideas was faster — or more transformative — of sugar cane.

Saccharum officinarum was domesticated in New Guinea around 6,000 BCE. Around 1500 BCE, the Polynesians adopted sugarcane as a ready source of calories, propagating it around the Pacific. All might have ended there if not for the semi-mythical Mamamy, who famously turned “back” toward Malasia. His descendants established sugar-growing culture there, as well as, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Madagascar, and finally the eastern coast of Africa.

Sugarcane grew well in these places, and while Rome was rising around the Mediterranean, the Mamamian Empire had claimed much of the coast of the Indian Ocean. It was in Africa, however, that the full flowering of Molasses culture was achieved.  Fueled by their abundant crop, with a large and technologically savvy population, the Bantu States extended from the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope, with cultural influence felt as far north as Scandinavia.

The collapse of the Mamamy Empire, however, cut the Bantu trade routs. Cut off from lucrative markets in the Far East, Sub-Saharan traders pushed north. The Molasses Rout through Byzos is the most famous example of this trade, but this link, too, was cut by invading nomads from the Eurasian Steppe.

Frustrated, the Bantu kings opened their books of Polynesian sea-craft and turned their eyes west, across the Atlantic.

This entry was posted in Short Stories and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.