A Brief Glimpse at the History of Cigars

A Brief Glimpse at the History of Cigars

Posted by Ana Cuenca on Sep 07, 2018

A Brief (And Informative) Glimpse at the History of Cigars

What do the Mayans and Christopher Columbus have in common? They both really liked tobacco. In fact, we have the Mayans to thank for the oldest depiction of cigar smoking known to man.

Christopher Columbus wove his way into the history of cigars by bringing them back to Europe after his travels.

Want to learn more? Keep reading below.

The First Cigars

The history of cigars goes back at least a thousand years, at least that's as far back as we know. They haven't always looked like their neatly wrapped modernselves, but tobacco wrapped in some sort of organic wrapping goes back to the Mayans.

In the early tenth century, or the 1100's, there's evidence of the Mayans smoking what we'd call cigars today. They were wads of tobacco that they wrapped in tobacco, palm, or plantain leaves.

Archeologists found artwork depicting this habit, so we know it was common if someone bothered to mark it down. We don't know when the Mayans discovered they could smoke the plant, other than by dating the artwork.

Christopher Columbus

Cigars didn't make their way to what Europeans considered the civilized world until after Columbus sailed the ocean blue. While he and his crew were on their trip to the "Indies" they met native people who smoked tobacco out of a pipe.

It's said that one of his crew members smoked this pipe with the natives every day. It is obvious that he was captivated by this activity.

With this new passion, Columbus's friend brought it back to Spain and Portugal. They hadn't found India, but they did find a rich new way to soothe their souls.

This new discoverytook off in Spain and Portugal first, before it made its way to the rest of Europe. Spanish manufacturers figured out how to make organic rolling papers and they were off to the races.

The king of Spain even participated in this new pastime.

The French

If you know anything about the French you know that they have a love affair with tobacco. It makes sense, as love is kinda their thing. It was Jean Nicot (whose last name sounds like nicotine for a reason ) who brought cigars back to France.

He was serving as an ambassador to Portugal at the time, fell in love with it, and brought some good ole tabaccky with him.

Once Spain, Portugal, and France were smoking, it didn't take the rest of Europe long to catch on.

The States

Even though the tobacco plants and pastime originated with Native Americans in North America and surrounding islands, it didn't make its way back to the Statesuntil way later.

Once the City of New York became a hub for trade and commerce, people started setting up cigar manufacturing plants, eventually spreading throughout the U.S. as the popularity of cigars grew.

This History of Cigars: Modern Times

Most tobacco is still grown in the Western Hemisphere, in the southeast United States (as well as the Northeastern states of Connecticut and Pennsylvania) and in Latin America. We see manufacturing in warm countries like Cuba, Mexico, and other countries around the equator. The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Brazil are other major producers of cigars.

If you want to taste the history of cigars, look around for a cigar sourced from islands like Cuba its neighbors. This is the kind of tobacco Christopher Columbus and his friends smoked, all those years ago.

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