“Alamo” Gum

alamo_winter2006Bubble gum’s entrance into the US market place first occurred in the early 1870s, although it was reputed to have made its debut during the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. In both cases, it was introduced by none other than General Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator who fought and defeated the American patriots and renegades during the Battle of the Alamo. The natives of Mexico and Central America had already been chewing gum for quite some time, although the chewy substance was not what one would consider “flavorful.”

By 1870, Santa Anna was living in exile in Staten Island, New York, when he decided to import a large quantity of sap from the sapodilla tree, also called chicle. Ironically, his first intention in importing the chicle was to develop a new form of rubber. It was Santa Anna’s secretary, Thomas Adams, who came up with the idea of adding sugar and flavoring to the chicle. The rest, as they say, is history.