History of Salt: How Salt Influenced Civilizations and Shaped World History
Most Don’t Know How Salt Influenced Civilizations and Shaped World History

Most Don’t Know How Salt Influenced Civilizations and Shaped World History

Trista - January 20, 2019

Most Don’t Know How Salt Influenced Civilizations and Shaped World History
Famous explorers Lewis (L) and Clark (R). Jean-Erick PASQUIER/Getty Images/History.

The 1795 Land Act wanted to prevent monopolies, so it included a provision for salt reservations. However, this was not the only act in history which included salt. Another was a treaty between the state of New York and the Iroquois’ Onondaga tribe. This treaty and act were put in place because the state of New York has always had salt as a considerable part of their history and economy. On top of this, the city of Syracuse, which is located in New York, is known as Salt City.

Then there is the Erie Canal, which has gone down in history as “the ditch that salt built” because, in the 1800s, the canal was mainly used to transport salt. From about the late 1700s until the mid-1800s, salt was produced by many states in the United States of America. These states include Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Louisiana. During the 18th and 19th centuries, most states in the US had salt mining. In fact, many still do salt mining, such as Louisiana, Ohio, New York, and Kansas.

Salty Wars

On top of being a part of the trade and helping to build the population of the United States of America, salt has also been important in wars. Salt had a crucial role in the American Civil War. During the war, both the Confederate and Union forces know how important salt was to the country. Therefore, they tried to beat the other to gain the areas where there were salt mines. For example, the Union forces fought a 36-hour battle to capture Saltville, Virginia, because of its salt plant.

Most Don’t Know How Salt Influenced Civilizations and Shaped World History
A sign in Saltville, Virginia. Civil-war-journeys.org.

Salt did not just play an important part during the Civil War. It actually had an important part in wars before the mid-1800s. During the American Revolution, British forces would work to capture the salt supply of others. For example, in 1777, General Washington’s salt supply was taken by British Lord Howe, who was beyond ecstatic that he was able to capture the salt supply of General Washington successfully. Furthermore, it is reported that troops during the American Revolution died because they did not have enough salt to treat their wounds.

These interesting facts are only a small bit of the history behind salt; there are so many more archives of this additive as its lifespan has been around for centuries. As stated before, salt has been around for thousands of years as salt started to form once the mineral was able to make it. From there, it did not take long for civilizations to catch on to the importance of salt. Throughout history, salt has not only been sprinkled on food to help make it taste better, but it has also been used for trade and healing wounds.

 

Where did we get this information? Here are our sources:

“A Brief History of Salt.” Time Staff, Time. March 1982.

“History of Salt?” Saltworks.

“The Fascinating Early History of Salt.” Today I Found Out

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