The history of salt is much longer than the history of mankind.
The first reference to salt in literature appears in the Old Testament. In the Bible, salt was considered to be extremely valuable and was brought to the gods as an offering. Since ancient times, salt acted as a means of payment.
The Romans discovered preserving properties of salt. They used it to extend the freshness of food stocks which contributed to success of colonization. Soldiers were also paid with salt.
In Ethiopia and Tibet coins were minted from salt.
In medieval Europe, the role of salt was strongly appreciated. Salt marked trade routes. So-called "salt roads" (routes designed mainly for salt transport) were created.
In time, a tax on salt extraction was introduced, because the ore was brought out quite easily and people could get rich relatively fast, especially after the French Revolution, when this tax was abolished and many salt-producers made great fortunes in this business.
First attempts to obtain salt from sea water date back to the fifteenth century. The process was carried out in so-called salt bays, where people extracted pure salt.
In the fourteenth century the term "white gold" was commonly used which perfectly reflects the role of salt in everyday life of people in the past.
Experts in the history of France believe that salt issue became a major cause of the outbreak of the French Revolution. Tax, called la gabella, was in force until. .. 1945. What seems to be interesting is that independent salt production in France is banned and cannot be carried out without special permission issued by the Ministry of Finance. For this reason, we cannot import even one liter of sea water from France.
Salt tax, however, was not invented by the French. It was introduced much earlier by the Arabs, the ancient Chinese and Indians. By the nineteenth century salt was regarded as a seasoning and preservative. Nowadays there are over 14 thousand products based on salt.
Since salt was regarded as sacred and given by the gods, it was associated with a lot of symbols and beliefs. Scattered salt means the end of brotherhood and divine protection – in order to prevent such situation you have to throw back a pinch of salt over your left shoulder three times.
For the ancient Romans scattered salt was a very bad sign and they often strewed it over the ground in the conquered cities to destroy crops.
In Poland, it is believed that scattered salt is a harbinger of an argument, while welcoming newcomers with bread and salt is a sign of friendship and hospitality.