Sugarcane is indigenous to south and south east Asia. Originally, it would have been chewed to release its sweet juices, then people discovered the benefits of boiling and eventually crystallising the compound into something like the sugar we know today. We’re talking around 6000 BC. Not until the 8th century AD did the Arabs bring it to the Mediterranean via North Africa, and it remained unknown in the Americas until the Columbian Exchange after 1492.