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Bacchus was sculpted by Michelangelo in the 15th century. Some of the earliest references to alcohol use were recorded by the Egyptians in 3500 B.C., but many scholars believe the use of alcohol is as old as the human race itself.

had expanded from medicinal to more common, popular uses. Wine and beer played an important role in religious events, diplomatic occasions, and celebrations of all kind. They were also considered to be much safer to drink than water, whose contents and purity varied greatly from one source to another.

The earliest explorers to America brought alcohol with them. The colonists who arrived on the Mayflower agreed to come ashore at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in part because their provisions—including their beer—had all been used up in the journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Missionaries from Spain who came to the New World brought grapevines with them, making wine in the geographical area that would become California before the United States had gained its independence.

But with alcohol came trouble. By 1619, public drunkenness had been made illegal in the colony of Virginia, a crime punishable by whipping, fines, and even time in the stockade (prison).

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