Salt in history
Salt's profound impact on human civilization spans recorded history... and precedes it.
Salt has influenced human existence virtually from the beginning. Neolithic settlements were at salt springs. Caravans trekked deserts trading salt ounce-for-ounce for gold.
Most cultures have folklore and art forms based on salt. And many cultures share traditions such as offering bread and salt to welcome visitors.
Salt’s economic and military significance produced trading partnerships…or armed combat. And economies and cultures ranging from the Sahara in West Africa to the Himalayan peaks of Nepal gives a glimpse of the salt trading culture of centuries gone by.
Religious texts and liturgy frequently employ salt metaphorically (e.g. “ye are the salt of the Earth”).
Roman soldiers were paid partly in salt, their salarium, today’s “salary.” Medieval Europe was forever changed when fishermen were able to salt the cod caught off North America’s Grand Banks, preserving them for sale in Europe.
Salt was involved in such historic events as the building of the Erie Canal, the French Revolution and the drive for India’s independence from British colonial rule.
Salt museums remind us of salt’s key role in the history of Europe, Japan and North America.