Christopher Columbus was a pioneer in the discovery of Rum. In 1493, he introduced sugarcane to the Caribbean islands and planted it on the island of Hispaniola, where Haiti and the Dominican Republic are located today. Sugarcane thrived in the tropical climate and its production soon spread around the islands. Hundreds of plantations and mills were established.
Sugar mill operators soon discovered that a spirit (rum or ron in Spanish) could be made from molasses, a byproduct of the sugar production. By the late 17th century a thriving export trade developed. Almost every major Caribbean island group produces its own distinct style of rum. Some of the Latin Caribbean brands you might recognize are Bacardi, Don Q, and Captain Morgan to name a few.