History and culture of salt

Each person living on the Earth consumes salt primarily as necessary nutrition component of people and domestic animals. But not so many people know that since ancient times salt has been used for flavoring, pickling, storage and conservation of fish and meat, as well as for leather tannage. This unique product has huge amount of useful properties, which makes it an important component of our culture and civilization. One author wrote: “From the cells of our brain and bones to enrichment of our language, salt penetrates all the aspects of our life”. Being aware of the significance and essence of this product, we use such expressions, as “salt story”, “eat a peck of salt”, “salt of the earth” every day. In various cultures salt is the object of worship or the symbol of purity, geniality, hospitability, wittiness, and wisdom.

Many years ago salt was equally important for the politics and trade. Over 100 years ago some nations used it as the currency, while primitive tribes paid for the salt as much gold, as it weighted. In many countries sale of salt is the state monopoly. It was tax for salt that was determinant factor that provoked French revolution.   Similar tax became the principle impulse for Gandhi movement (civil disobedience) against England, which ultimately led to independence of India. One cannot but mention famous Russian “salt revolts” resulted from introduction of extravagant taxes for salt.