Salt in Chinese history
Salt, salt production, salt taxes played key roles in Chinese history, economic development, relations between state and society. The lure of salt profits led to new ways to organize capital. Debate over government salt policies brought forth conflicting attitudes toward the nature of government, private wealth, the relation between the rich and the poor, while the administration of these salt policies was a practical test of a government's competence; because salt is a necessity of life, the tax on it had a broad base and could be set at a low rate and still be one of the most important sources of government revenue. In early times, governments gathered salt revenues by managing production and sales directly. After innovations in the mid-8th century, imperial bureaucracies reaped these revenues safely and indirectly by selling salt rights to merchants who sold the salt in retail markets. Private salt trafficking persisted because monopoly salt was more expensive and of lower quality, while local bandits and rebel leaders thrived on salt smuggling.
Over time, this basic system of bureaucratic oversight and private management yielded revenue second only to the land tax, with considerable regional variation and periodic reworking, remained in place until the mid-20th century. Salt played a role in Chinese society and culture. Salt is one of the "seven necessities of life" mentioned in proverbs and "salty" is one of the "five flavors" which form the cosmological basis of Chinese cuisine. Song Yingxing, author of the 17th century treatise, The Exploitation of the Works of Nature explained the essential role of salt: as there are five phenomena in weather, so are there in the world five tastes… A man would not be unwell if he abstained for an entire year from either the sweet or sour or bitter or hot. In earliest times and island salterns used earthen and iron boiling pans to reduce sea water to salt. By the 3rd century BCE, workers filtered sea water through flat beds of ashes or sand into pits to produce a brine which could be boiled or evaporated by the sun.
By the Ming dynasty, salterns in the salt marshes of northern Jiangsu and the eastern seaboard at Changlu, Bohai Bay, near present-day Tianjin, became the largest salt producers and by the late 19th century supplied some 80% of China's salt. Over the course of the 20th century, industrial evaporators replaced these coastal salterns. Well salt: produced in Sichuan, most famously at Zigong, but to some extent in Yunnan. Deep borehole drilling technology tapped subterranean salt pools, sometimes to the depth of half a mile, which produced the natural gas used to boil it; however by the end of the 19th century, Sichuan produced only 8% of China's salt. Lake salt: produced from salt water lakes in Western China and Central Asia using the same evaporative techniques as for sea water. Earth salt: found in sand from the dried beds of ancient inland seas in Western areas and extracted by rinsing it to produce brine. Rock salt: found in caves in Shaanxi and Gansu. Song Yingxing, the Ming dynasty technology writer, explains that in the prefectures where there is no sea salt or salt wells, people find “rocky caves which produce salt by themselves, its color being like that of red earth.
People can obtain it by scraping it off without refining it.” As in other ancient centers of civilization, when agriculture replaced hunting, who ate little meat, needed salt for themselves and for their draft animals. More than a dozen sites on the southwest coast of the Bohai Bay show that the Dawenkou culture was producing salt from underground brine more than 6,000 years ago during the Neolithic. In the same region, the late Shang dynasty produced salt on a large scale and moved it inland in "helmet shaped-vessels"; these pottery jars may have served as "standard units of measurement in the trade and distribution of salt". Oracle bones mention "petty officers for salt", suggesting that the Shang had officials who oversaw salt production and provisioning; the earliest surviving record of salt production in what is now China is a text from 800 BCE which reports that the much earlier Xia dynasty reduced sea water for salt. There are reliable reports of the use of iron salt pans in the 5th century BCE.
Early states located their capital cities near ready sources of salt, a consideration which affected locations in times. In the 3rd century BCE, Li Bing, an official of the expansionist and innovative Qin dynasty, in addition to organizing the Sichuan basin water control system at Dujiangyan, discovered that the salt pools, used for many centuries were fed from deep under the ground, the remnants of an ancient inland sea, he ordered first that the pools be made deeper that wells be dug, that narrower and more efficient shafts be sunk. By the end of the 2nd century CE, workers had devised a system of leather valves and bamboo pipes which drew up both brine and natural gas, which they burned to boil the brine. Before the Qin's wars of unification in 221 BCE, salt was produced and traded and presented as tribute to the courts of the regional states; the Guanzi, a Han dynasty comp
A salt road refers to any of the prehistoric and historical trade routes by which essential salt was transported to regions that lacked it. From the Bronze Age fixed transhumance routes appeared, like the Ligurian drailles that linked the maritime Liguria with the alpages, long before any purposely-constructed roadways formed the overland routes by which salt-rich provinces supplied salt-starved ones; the Via Salaria, an ancient Roman road in Italy ran from Rome to Castrum Truentinum on the Adriatic coast - a distance of 242 kilometres. A modern road by this name, part of the SS4 highway, runs 51 kilometres from Rome to Osteria Nuova in Orvieto; the Old Salt Route, about 100 kilometres, was a medieval route in northern Germany, linking Lüneburg with the port of Lübeck, which required more salt than it could produce itself. Lüneburg, first mentioned in the 10th century, grew rich on the salterns surrounding the town. Traders shipped salt via Lauenburg, to Lübeck. Lüneburg and its salt were major factors of wealth of the Hanseatic League.
After a long period of prosperity, its importance declined after 1600. The last of the salt mines was closed in 1980. In France, the salt route was longer. Salt unloaded at the ports of Nice and Ventimiglia could travel by two salt roads leading away from the coastal area, from Nice up the Vésubie valley, via Saint-Martin-Vésubie at the head of the valley, or from Ventimiglia inland through the Roya Valley, over the Col de Tende pass and into Piedmont. In Ethiopia blocks of salt, called amoleh, were carved from the salt pans of the Afar Depression around Lake Afrera carried by camel west to Atsbi and Ficho in the highland, whence traders distributed them throughout the rest of Ethiopia, as far south as the Kingdom of Kaffa. Before the People's Republic of China annexed Tibet and closed the borders in the 1950s, salt trade between Nepal and Tibet crossed passes through the Himalayas such as the gorges of the upper Karnali and Gandaki rivers. Caravans of pack animals brought rice up from Nepal's Terai and lower hills in exchange for salt from dry lakes on the Tibetan Plateau.
The salt highways of Europe were the navigable rivers, where by medieval times shipments of salt coming upstream passed rafts and log-trains of timber, which could only be shipped downstream. And along Europe's coasts, once long-distance trade was revived in the 11th century, the hot and sunny south outproduced the wet north. By the Late Middle Ages the expanding fishing fleets of the Low Countries required more salt than could be produced locally. Spain did no more than dream of this," Fernand Braudel has written. In Ming China, salt as well as rice was shipped from south to north, along the Imperial Canal as far as Beijing. In France, a major source of marine salt with access to expansive hinterlands in need of it was the wetlands region in Languedoc called the Camargue. Of the early modern period in Europe, Fernand Braudel remarked that in spite of the flux and reflux of economics: "no salt mine was abandoned and the scale of the equipment needed put these mines in the hands of merchants from early days.
Salt-marshes on the other hand, were exploited by artisanal methods: the merchants took control only of transport and marketing, both in Setúbal in Portugal and in Peccais in Languedoc. Salt marketing was quite big business along the Atlantic seabord or the Rhône valley." The vast interior of Poland was salt-starved, its maritime districts lying under rainy skies and fronting the Baltic Sea. By medieval times the process of mining for fossil salt supplemented the age-old techniques of evaporating sea salt in tidal pans. By the 14th century, at Wieliczka near Kraków, Braudel reports that peasant extraction of salt from brine evaporated in large shallow iron pans had been eliminated by the early industrialisation of salt mining. "Galleries and shafts were now dug to a depth of 300 metres, enormous winches powered by teams of horses brought blocks of salt to the surface. At its peak, production stood at the mines employed 3,000 workers. By 1368, the cooperation of the Polish state had been obtained."
History of salt Timeline of international trade Russ Collins, Route de Sel
Old Salt Route
The Old Salt Route was a medieval trade route in northern Germany, one of the ancient network of salt roads which were used for the transport of salt and other staples. In Germany it was referred to as Alte Salzstraße. Salt was valuable at that time; the vast majority of the salt transported on the road was produced from brine near Lüneburg, a city in the northern central part of the country and transported to Lübeck, a major seaport on Germany’s Baltic coast. Historians recognize the Old Salt Route as part of a much longer path, which functioned as an important connection between the northern and southern reaches of the country. One of the oldest documents that confirms Lüneburg and its role in refining and transporting salt dates from 956 A. D. According to that document, King Otto I the Great granted the St. Michaelis Monastery in Lüneburg the customs revenue from the saltworks. At those early times, the city’s wealth was based in large part on the salt found in the area. However, the Old Salt Route attained its peak of success between the 16th century.
The trade route led from Lüneburg northward to Lübeck. From that port city, most of the salt was shipped to numerous destinations that lie on the Baltic Sea, including Falsterbo, with boasted a Scania Market. There it was used for the preservation of herring, an immensely important food in the Middle Ages, as well as for other foods; the salt trade was a major reason for the power of the Hanseatic League. Horse-drawn carts brought the salt from Lüneburg to a crossing of the Elbe river at Artlenburg and from there, via Mölln, to Lübeck. However, for the most part, the historic trade route was composed of unsurfaced and muddy roads through heathland and small villages, making the transport of salt an arduous task. In addition, the route was somewhat dangerous, since the valuable cargo attracted thieves and marauders; the dangers faced by those who make the long trek and the fact that only small quantities of the precious crystalline substance could be carried in any single journey, made moving salt via overland routes expensive.
In 1398, the Stecknitz Canal, one of the first manmade waterways in Europe, was completed, making it possible to transport much more salt in a single shipment and to do so with much greater ease and safety. That change helped merchants satisfy the salt requirements of an ever-growing demand. In the 16th Century, for example, about 19,000 tons of the product were carried from Lüneburg to Lübeck each year. Either by land or water, however, it still took about twenty days to complete each trip. In modern times, a trip along the Salt Road promises a rich blend of culture; the trip can be made on foot or on bicycle and part of the distance can be enjoyed on a paddle-wheeled steamer. There are many fascinating sights along the old trade route; these points of interest include the historical towns Lüneburg, Mölln and Lübeck, which are highlighted by beautiful façades and little alleyways, are a major attraction to visitors. As a bicycle route, there are the options of a scenic route; the shorter main route leads bicyclists through many picturesque little towns such as Lauenburg, Büchen, Mölln and Krummsee and passes by the Lüne Monastery.
The scenic route is attractive for nature lovers. The 106-kilometre-long path diverges from the main thoroughfare at Witzeeze, continues on through the Lauenburg Nature Park and rejoins the main route just before Lübeck. Once, the area around Lüneburg was covered in lush woodlands, but because the medieval salt works depended on wood as a fuel used in boiling and purifying the saline water from which the salt was obtained, much of the forest was cut down. Heather covered area, helping it to become the beautiful landscape that now attracts thousands of visitors when that foliage is in full bloom. German Salt Museum Lüneburg Saltworks Sülze Saltworks Lüneburg’s Website Network Old Salt Street – has English and German content. 20.000 tons of white gold – German article
Briquetage is a coarse ceramic material used to make evaporation vessels and supporting pillars used in extracting salt from brine or seawater. Thick-walled saltpans were filled with saltwater and heated from below until the water had boiled away and salt was left behind; the bulk of the water would be allowed to evaporate in salterns before the concentrated brine was transferred to a smaller briquetage vessel for final reduction. Once only salt was left, the briquetage vessels would have to be broken to remove the valuable commodity for trade. Broken briquetage material is found at multiple sites from the Bronze Age in Europe into the medieval period and archaeologists have been able to identify different forms and fabrics of the pottery, allowing trade networks to be identified. Saltworking sites contain large quantities of the orange/red material and in Essex the mounds of briquetage are known as Red Hills. A recent discovery at the Poiana Slatinei archaeological site next to a salt spring in Lunca, Neamt County, indicates that Neolithic people of the Precucuteni Culture were boiling the salt-laden spring water through the process of Briquetage to extract the salt as far back as 6050 BC, making it the oldest saltworks in history
The Salt March known as the Dandi March and the Dandi Satyagraha, was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to produce salt from the seawater in the coastal village of Dandi, as was the practice of the local populace until British officials introduced taxation on salt production, deemed their sea-salt reclamation activities illegal, repeatedly used force to stop it. The 24-day march lasted from 12 March 1930 to 6 April 1930 as a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly, it gained worldwide attention which gave impetus to the Indian independence movement and started the nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement. Mahatma Gandhi started this march with 78 of his trusted volunteers. Walking ten miles a day for 24 days, the march spanned over 240 miles; the march was the most significant organised challenge to British authority since the Non-cooperation movement of 1920–22, directly followed the Purna Swaraj declaration of sovereignty and self-rule by the Indian National Congress on 26 January 1930.
Gandhi led the Dandi March from his base, Sabarmati Ashram, 240 miles to the coastal village of Dandi, at a small town called Navsari to produce salt without paying the tax, growing numbers of Indians joined them along the way. When Gandhi broke the salt laws at 6:30 am on 6 April 1930, it sparked large scale acts of civil disobedience against the British Raj salt laws by millions of Indians; the campaign had a significant effect on changing world and British attitudes towards Indian sovereignty and self-rule and caused large numbers of Indians to join the fight for the first time. After making salt at Dandi, Gandhi continued southward along the coast, making salt and addressing meetings on the way; the Congress Party planned to stage a satyagraha at the Dharasana Salt Works, 25 miles south of Dandi. However, Gandhi was arrested on the midnight of 4–5 May 1930, just days before the planned action at Dharasana; the Dandi March and the ensuing Dharasana Satyagraha drew worldwide attention to the Indian independence movement through extensive newspaper and newsreel coverage.
The satyagraha against the salt tax continued for a year, ending with Gandhi's release from jail and negotiations with Viceroy Lord Irwin at the Second Round Table Conference. Over 60,000 Indians were jailed as a result of the Salt Satyagraha. However, it failed to result in major concessions from the British; the Salt Satyagraha campaign was based upon Gandhi's principles of non-violent protest called satyagraha, which he loosely translated as "truth-force". It is formed from the Sanskrit words satya, "truth", agraha, "insistence". In early 1930 the Indian National Congress chose satyagraha as their main tactic for winning Indian sovereignty and self-rule from British rule and appointed Gandhi to organise the campaign. Gandhi chose the 1882 British Salt Act as the first target of satyagraha; the Salt March to Dandi, the beating by British police of hundreds of nonviolent protesters in Dharasana, which received worldwide news coverage, demonstrated the effective use of civil disobedience as a technique for fighting social and political injustice.
The satyagraha teachings of Gandhi and the March to Dandi had a significant influence on American activists Martin Luther King Jr. James Bevel, others during the Civil Rights Movement for civil rights for African Americans and other minority groups in the 1960s. At midnight on 31 December 1929, the Indian National Congress raised the tricolour flag of India on the banks of the Ravi at Lahore; the Indian National Congress, led by Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, publicly issued the Declaration of sovereignty and self-rule, or Purna Swaraj, on 26 January 1930. The declaration included the readiness to withhold taxes, the statement: We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or abolish it.
The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, has ruined India economically, politically and spiritually. We believe therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraji or complete sovereignty and self-rule; the Congress Working Committee gave Gandhi the responsibility for organising the first act of civil disobedience, with Congress itself ready to take charge after Gandhi's expected arrest. Gandhi's plan was to begin civil disobedience with a satyagraha aimed at the British salt tax; the 1882 Salt Act gave the British a monopoly on the collection and manufacture of salt, limiting its handling to government salt depots and levying a salt tax. Violation of the Salt Act was a criminal offence. Though salt was available to those living on the coast, Indians were forced to buy it from the colonial government. Gandhi's choice of the salt tax was met with incredulity by the Working Committee of the Congress, Jawaharlal Nehru and Dibyalochan Sahoo were ambivalent.
The Statesman, a prominent newspaper, wrote about the choice: "It is difficult not to laugh, we imagine that will be the mood of most thinking Indians."The British establishment too was not disturbed by these plans of resistance against the salt tax. The Vicero
Solvychegodsk is a town in Kotlassky District of Arkhangelsk Oblast, located on the right-hand bank of the Vychegda River 25 kilometers northeast of Kotlas, the administrative center of the district. Population: 2,460 . Solvychegodsk was founded in the 14th century on the shores of Lake Solyonoye; the town was known as Usolsk in the 15th century. Anikey Stroganov opened salterns in 1515, which become a huge industry, started the Stroganov family fortune. In the 16th–17th centuries, Solvychegodsk was a big commercial and cultural hub of Northern Russia, it was famous for its enamel industry. Solvychegodsk was captured and looted by Polish-Lithuanian vagabonds, the Lisowczycy, on January 22, 1613. In 1796, the town became a part of Vologda Governorate, it was known as a place of political exile. In 1937, Solvychegodsk was transferred to the jurisdiction of Arkhangelsk Oblast. Joseph Stalin was exiled here for seven months after being arrested by the Okhrana in April 1909 and for another seventeen months in 1911.
Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated within Kotlassky District as the town of district significance of Solvychegodsk. As a municipal division, the town of district significance of Solvychegodsk, together with the territories of Pacheozersky, Peschansky and Kharitonovsky Selsoviets in Kotlassky District, is incorporated within Kotlassky Municipal District as Solvychegodskoye Urban Settlement; the Vychegda in Solvychegodsk is navigable, in summer there is regular passenger navigation connecting Kotlas and Soyga. There is no railway in Solvychegodsk; the Solvychegodsk railway station is located in the urban-type settlement of Vychegodsky, on the line connecting Kotlas and Vorkuta at the other side of the Vychegda. There is a passenger ferry to the right bank of the Vychegda River; the ferry is connected by an unpaved road with the paved road between Koryazhma. There is an unpaved road upstream along the Vychegda, heading to Yarensk. Nine objects of cultural heritage protected at the federal level and additionally thirty-three monuments of history and architecture of local importance are located in the town.
The federal list of cultural heritage includes the following ensembles: former Presentation Monastery, including the Presentation Cathedral, one of the five surviving Stroganov baroque churches former Annunciation Cathedral with the adjacent bell-tower Church of the Holy Mandylion Pyankov House The town of Solvychegodsk is classified as a historical town by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, which implies certain restrictions on construction in the historical center. The only state museum in the town, the Solvychegodsk Museum of Art and History, is housed in the former Annunciation Cathedral. There is a small private museum devoted to the fictional author, Kozma Prutkov, according to his official biography, was born in Solvychegodsk; the town is home to a number of balneological resorts, where mineral springs and silt mud from the Lake Solyanoye are used. Архангельское областное Собрание депутатов. Областной закон №258-внеоч.-ОЗ от 23 сентября 2004 г. «О статусе и границах территорий муниципальных образований в Архангельской области», в ред.
Областного закона №224-13-ОЗ от 16 декабря 2014 г. «Об упразднении отдельных населённых пунктов Соловецкого района Архангельской области и о внесении изменения в статью 46 Областного закона "О статусе и границах территорий муниципальных образований в Архангельской области"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Волна", №38, 8 октября 2004 г.. Media related to List of cultural heritage monuments in Solvychegodsk at Wikimedia Commons William Brumfield, Solvychegodsk: Empire of the Stroganovs
Anikey Fyodorovich Stroganov was an explorer and eventual monk who lived during the Grand Duchy of Moscow and Tsardom of Russia, the predecessors of the Russian Empire. He was an early progenitor of the Stroganov family, whose members were prominent Russian merchants, landowners and statesmen through to the early 20th century. Anikey Stroganov was younger son of Fyodor Lukich Stroganov, he was born in Novgorod but soon after his birth, the Stroganovs migrated to Solvychegodsk. After the deaths of his childless brothers Stefan and Vladimir, his father became a monk. All the family wealth, included several large estates and saltworks, were passed to Anikey. Anikey improved and expanded his salt business and when his sons Yakov and Semyon became adults, Anikey founded new salterns in the Kolskaya Guba and Perm. In the beginning of the reign of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, Stroganov received the right to control the trade rules prescribed for English merchants, traveling from Arkhangelsk to Moscow; these rights were confirmed in documents signed in 1552, 1555 and 1560.
Stroganov performed other duties for the tsar, like collecting taxes from the obrok in Solvychegodsk. Stroganov established trade routes with the indigenous tribes of Siberia. On 4 April 1558, Ivan the Terrible granted Grigory and his successors large estates along the Kama and Chusovaya rivers, including tax income and other privileges for 20 years. Stroganov founded several settlements. On 16 August 1566, Anikey Stroganov received a new privilege. Seizing lands from the local population by conquest and colonizing them with incoming Russian peasants, the Stroganovs developed farming, saltworks and ore mining in these areas, they built towns and fortresses and, at the same time, suppressed local unrest with the help of their druzhinas and annexed new lands in the Urals and Siberia in favor of Russia. Anikey Stroganov was married two times, his first wife, died in 1544. After the death of the second wife in 1567, Stroganov moved in with his youngest son Semyon. Like his father, Anikey soon became a monk.
He died in 1570 at the age of 10 months. This article includes content derived from the Russian Biographical Dictionary, 1896–1918