The Continuity of Cane

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Although sugar has never again been as transformational as it was during its early years in the Caribbean, it remains a major commodity. In Louisiana, where cane had been grown since colonization, it became an important crop in the early nineteenth century following an exodus of planters from Saint Domingue, and in the mid-nineteenth century the sugar industry began to take off in the state. Technological innovations like the vacuum pan evaporator, patented by Norbert Rillieux in 1843, replaced the Jamaica Train method and made Louisiana sugar profitable. Today, southern Louisiana remains sugar’s capital in the United States, and sugar from cane remains one of that state’s major industrial crops. In the 2010–2011 crop year, Brazil was the world’s largest producer of sugarcane, followed by India, China, Thailand, the United States, Mexico, and Pakistan.