The European Sugar History in short.

The origin of cane sugar is probably Irian Jaya, from were the sugar was spread
truth the Philippians to the Azian mainland.
Scientists have found writings from the fourth century indicating the use of sugar.

The Persians used milk to refine the cane sugar.
They used it to bake bread up till the 20th century.

The Arabs introduced sugar to Europe.
Sugar was just as coffee & tea luxurious and therefore expensive.
It was used as a medicine to: lower fever, stop chest pains,
stimulate digestion and prevent dry lips.

In the colonial area the Portuguese started with sugar plants in Brazil.
In 1570 they already had 60 slave plants in Pernambuco.
Then the Dutch kicked in, using people like Piet Hein they took over a large amount of
plants from the Portuguese & Spanish.
In the 17th century Amsterdam became the center of the European sugar trading.
They had over 1.000 refineries.

When the French conqueror Napoleon blocked the import of cane sugar to The Netherlands,
people started to search for other ways of getting 'their' sugar.
The Berliner Andreas Marggraf using the work of the French Oliver de Serres,
succeeded in 1749 to get sugar from beets.

This white sugar has become more popular in the Netherlands ever since.