The people of new guinea were probably the first to domesticate sugarcane, sometime around 8,000 bc after domestication, its cultivation spread rapidly to southern china, indochina and india, with muslim traders and conquerors later exporting the cane plant and refining techniques to the middle east and europe. by the sixth century ad, sugar cultivation and processing had reached persia, whence they were carried into the mediterranean by the arab expansion. spanish and portuguese exploration and conquest in the fifteenth century carried sugar south-west of iberia. henry the navigator introduced cane to sicily from madeira in 1425, while the spanish, having eventually subdued the canary islands, introduced sugar cane to them. in 1493, on his second voyage, christopher columbus carried cane seedlings to the new world, in particular hispaniola. through the medieval period, sugar was considered a fine spice, but from about 1500 onwards technological improvements and new world fuel-sources began turning it into a bulk commodity. - the crusaders established one of their important fortified farms in the area, calling it manueth. the lands of the farm were leased in 1169 and the houses were built on the higher foothills - upper manot. in the nearby valley of kziv the farmers grew sugar canes. the canes require plenty of water which the creek provided. they also built a large sugar processing factory on the lower side of the farm, close to the modern road. the sugar production was one of the crusaders industries, and other sites in the holy land had similar factories, such as gilgal in the sharon. - sugar was only discovered by western europeans as a result of the crusades in the 11th century ad. crusaders returning home talked of this new spice and how pleasant it was. the first sugar was recorded in england in 1099. the subsequent centuries saw a major expansion of western european trade with the east, including the importation of sugar. columbus sailed to the americas, the new world. it is recorded that in 1493 he took sugar cane plants to grow in the caribbean. the climate there was so advantageous for the growth of the cane that an industry was quickly established. by 1750 there were 120 sugar refineries operating in britain. their combined output was only 30,000 tons per annum. at this stage sugar was still a luxury and vast profits were made to the extent that sugar was called white gold. - man the year 1500 madeira island was the largest sugar exporter in the world but by the end of the century the sugarcane production fell due to over-production and a cane disease that decimated the fields. as a young man christopher columbus was trained in the madeira sugar trade. he brought this experience to the new world on his second voyage of 1493 when he introduced sugar cane plantings to the caribbean. but it wasnt until the early sixteenth century that the sugar industry began to thrive first in santo domingo, then cuba, and soon after in puerto rico.