For John, BLUF: History is sometimes more fun when you look at it from a non-history direction. Nothing to see here; just move along.
The Source for this item is the web magazine War on the Rocks. "The Geopolitics of Rum".
From a rum drinkers perspective, the prospect of an open Cuba is intriguing. Cuba has long held an historical allure for many Americans. We’re intrigued by our government’s strategic obsession over the island’s importance to American shipping, and many of us have heard our parents and grandparents wax nostalgic for its pre-Castro past. Cuba’s reputation as a source of illicit contraband actually pre-dates the current embargo, and goes all the way back to the days of rum running during Prohibition.My Father, for high school graduation, got a trip to Cuba. But, on to the larger geopolitical and historical issues.
Originally a Cuban company founded by a Spanish immigrant in the 1830s, Bacardi’s history is intimately tied to Cuba’s, and in turn with the evolution of American strategic interests in the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory from the French secured for the United States the vast interconnected Missouri-Mississippi-Ohio river system. In so doing, Jefferson also provided future American farmers access to a world market for their agricultural products. New Orleans, which sits atop the mouth of the Mississippi River, was central to this strategy.Sure, I think we should replace Andy Jackson on the Double Sawbuck, but we should not forget that he fought and won the Battle of New Orleans. Of course the war was already over, but who knew? Not out as far west as New Orleans.
Any enemy who could capture New Orleans could cut off the U.S. interior’s trade from the rest of the world. That is precisely what the British did in the War of 1812. General Andrew Jackson famously defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1814 and, coincidentally, shipped the body of defeated British Major General Edward Pakenham back to England in a cask of rum.
Regards — Cliff