A Condensed Four Part Overview Of The History of Tobacco and Cigars
History of Tobacco and Cigars Part 1: Have you ever stopped to think about where cigars came from? The common belief is that Spain was the first producer of cigars. However, before you can have cigars you need the tobacco to put in them. Tobacco is native to the Americas, mainly Central and South America. Tobacco has been grown by the natives for hundreds of years. It is believed tobacco was first produced, and smoked, by the Mayans of Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and other areas of Central America. Tobacco use was quickly spread to other tribes in the area, and slowly made its way both north and south. It is thought to have reach tribes along the Mississippi upon first coming to North America. The rest of the world would so learn about tobacco, but it would take the historic voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492 to bring it to them.
History of Tobacco and Cigars Part 2: Columbus was never a fan of tobacco, but many of his sailors were fascinated by the odd plant. Tobacco was introduced to the people of Spain and Portugal and rapidly became popular. It quickly made its journey over to France where Jean Nicot, the French ambassador, gave his name to tobacco’s scientific name, Nicotina Tabacum. It is still a mystery where the word tobacco comes from. Some believe it is a form of Tobago, an island in the Caribbean; others say it comes from Tabasco, a state in Mexico, but no one knows for sure.
History of Tobacco and Cigars Part 3: The United States’ first tobacco plantation was set-up in Virginia in 1612. The trend caught on and more plantations were established in Maryland. Tobacco was one of the most popular crops; however, it was simply smoked in pipes. The cigar would not make its grand entrance into the States until late in the 18th century. An army general, who fought in the Revolutionary War, named Israel Putnam is the man credited for bringing cigars to the US. After fighting in the War, he traveled down to Cuba bringing a box of Cuban cigars with him. The cigar quickly became a popular and cigar factories started popping up all over Hartford, Connecticut, General Putnam’s hometown.
History of Tobacco and Cigars Part 4: Cigar production and consumption in Europe did not happen until after the start of the 19th century, following the Peninsula War. The British and French veterans went back to their countries, after spending years fighting in Spain, with their newly acquired tobacco pipes. Cigars gain popularity amongst the rich and famous, and was the only way to take tobacco. Smoking cigar’s today is symbolic of the distinguished, upper class society.