Piling licorice root, Aleppo
Piling licorice root near Aleppo, c. 1900-1920 (American Colony/LOC). Licorice or Liquorice is one of many fragrant roots and herbs that thrive in the Mediterranean region. It is a natural sweetener much more powerful than sugar and has been used for confection and alcoholic beverages as well as medical purposes throughout history. Licorice production in Ottoman Syria flourished during the 1890s and exports to the United States, the world’s major producer of candy at the time, almost doubled. Here we see peasants piling and sorting the licorice into bags in order to be loaded onto camels and transported overland to an Eastern Mediterranean port, most likely Iskenderun (Alexandretta).