Salt is first believed to have been used as far back as C. 2700 – 4700 B.C. in China. Through all its days, salt has been used for trading, payment, and cooking. Salt has also been one of the prime causes for national economies and wars. Its value before the Phoenicians began harvesting was second to none.
Originally, salt was hard to find, but because it was so important to people’s health, people paid a lot for it. Salts value was ever increasing because our bodies needed it and it kept food good for a while. China required people pay salt as tax. Early Chinese used coins made of salt. Egyptians also used salt to pay soldiers. Many other people used salt for music, art, poetry, etc. When the Phoenicians began harvesting it, salt was easier to find and less expensive because of that. It was, and still is important to our health and the economy; but it is not seen as important as it was thousands of years ago. During the Middle Ages, salt was used as payment. This shows up today in the English word “salary,” which comes from the Latin root “sal” meaning salt. Salts value made the world go ‘round until the Phoenicians learned to harvest it from the sea. Other people quickly learned how, and the value of salt decreased.