Rum is made from molasses.
In the early 1700s Americans found it much cheaper to buy their molasses from French colonies in the Carribean, rather than British ones. When these British molasses producers went crying home to mama, the English crown responded by placing steep tarrifs on America’s import of all French sugar products.
The seed of defiance had already taken root in the American colonies, and our predacessors took to smuggling, rather than paying duties on French sugar or buying British. So prolific was America’s sugar smuggling that England collected all of £2 on French sugar for the entire year of 1735. This roughly equates to $168 (£128) today.
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