January Through the Years
1474- 23 year-old Christopher Columbus begins entertaining the possibility of a westward passage to Cathay (China). The young navigator uses projections made by German mathematicians and Italian mapmakers at Sangres to revive the ancient Greek knowledge.
1526- First shipments of Brazilian sugar leave to Europe.
1609- The Virginia colony declines in population to 67 by January as food stocks run low despite the introduction of carrots, parsnips and turnips.
1623- Sir Thomas Warner establishes the first English colony in the West Indies on the island of St. Kitts.
1662- Catherine da Braganza introduces to the London court the Lisbon fashion of drinking tea. Sugar demand increases as a result.
1795- The Royal Navy orders lime juice rations aboard all vessels after the fifth or sixth week at sea, following confirmation last year of James Lind's theory that citrus juice is an anti scorbutic. The juice is usually combined with the rum ration.
1799- Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia receives a loaf of beet sugar from Berlin chemist Franz Karl Achard and is persuaded to provide land and financing to Achard to continue his work with sugar beets in Silesia.