In the middle of 18th century German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf found sugar in white beet and later obtained it in an experiment. The scientific community did not appreciate this discovery in Marggraf’s lifetime. His turn came 60 year later, when Napoleonic wars cut continental Europe from the West Indies which grew sugar cane and produced sugar. The life that ceased being sweet dictated its decision. On March 25, 1811, Emperor Napoleon issued a decree on allotting 80,000 acres of land for growing sugar beet. The same document prescribed building sugar producing factories and training specialists. The peasants were not forgotten either. Generous subsidies were allocated to those who chose to seed sugar beet. Three years later, 40 factories were extracting sugar from the white beet. Today the lion’s share of sugar is produced from sugar beet in Europe, exactly as Napoleon Bonaparte has instructed.
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