What Is Salt a World History About?

Salt: A World History is a fascinating book that explores the history and significance of salt in human civilization. Written by Mark Kurlansky, this book takes readers on a journey through time to discover how salt has influenced our lives.

The Importance of Salt

Salt has been a crucial part of human history for thousands of years. It has been used to preserve food, flavor dishes, and even as currency in some cultures. In ancient times, salt was considered so valuable that it was used as a form of payment for Roman soldiers.

The History of Salt

The history of salt is long and complex. The earliest evidence of salt production dates back to around 6,000 BCE in China.

From there, salt production spread throughout the world. The ancient Egyptians used salt to mummify their dead, while the Greeks used it in religious ceremonies.

In medieval Europe, salt was known as “white gold” because of its value. It was used not only for preserving food but also for making cheese and butter. Salt also played a significant role in the slave trade, with African slaves being traded for European salt.

  • Types of Salt: There are many different types of salt available today, including sea salt, kosher salt, and Himalayan pink salt.
  • Salt Wars: Throughout history, wars have been fought over control of the world’s salt supplies.
  • Salt Taxes: Many countries have imposed taxes on salt throughout history as a way to generate revenue.

The Influence of Salt on Society

Salt has had a profound impact on human society throughout history. It has shaped economies and influenced politics. The discovery of new sources of salt led to the development of new trade routes and economic growth.

In addition to its economic impact, salt has also played a significant cultural role. It has been used in religious ceremonies and traditions. Salt has also played a role in art and literature.

The Future of Salt

As technology advances, the way we produce and consume salt is changing. New methods of salt production are being developed, and alternative sources of sodium are being explored. The future of salt is uncertain, but one thing is clear: it will continue to play an important role in human civilization.


Salt: A World History is a fascinating book that explores the history and significance of this essential mineral. From its use in preserving food to its role in shaping human history, salt has had a profound impact on our lives. This book offers an insightful look into the world of salt and its influence on society.