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Home » Lifestyle & Culture

Tobacco History

Submitted by Oliver on August 17, 2011 – 4:23 amNo Comment

We smoke pipes, cigars and cigarettes, chew tobacco and enjoy our lives. But have you ever thought about the history of tobacco, the country of its origin and people who are responsible for its mass marketing? I think some of you did that and even read the history of this plant we all call “tobacco”. This short guidance is for those who’d like to dip into the history and know more about the amazing crop most of us is looking for everyday.

The guys who introduced the crop to the world were the Native Americans, or Indians, in a different way. Actually, the tobacco plant was grown on their territory, and the Europeans introduced the crop to the other world in commercial purposes.

The Indians didn’t smoke tobacco everyday: this was a sacred plant mainly used in religious or medical goals, for celebrating the harvest and The Native American Pipe Ceremony. According to the Indians, the Pipe Ceremony was held to “tell the truth” and “the pipe is a link between the earth and the sky”.

So what did the Europeans when they finally understood the commercial benefit of tobacco? They started its mass growing in 1600′s and began selling it overseas to the continental Europe. Tobacco was no more a sacred plant used for high aims – everyone who had some money had the possibility to smoke it. And since smoking a pipe isn’t limited to only one, the need for tobacco became very strong.

Till 1865 there were no cigarettes/cigars commercial making, so people made them by hands, for personal use only. However, in 1865 an enterprising farmer Washington Duke, from North Carolina, made a batch of hand-made cigarettes that were sold to soldiers during the Civil War. And only in 1881 the first cigarette-making machine was invented by James Bonsack. The apparatus could make up to 120000 cigarettes a day which was an incredible achievement for those times.

Since then the tobacco industry grown very fast and became one of the most profitable and flourishing commercial branches. The 20th century was marked by cigarette making in large scale and divided the society into two camps – tobacco lovers and haters.

Anyway, this kind of business didn’t fade away even in the 21st century and notwithstanding various health campaigns, it is still as popular and flourishing as it was years ago. And though it did lost its spiritual meaning, tobacco smoking gained more cultural colour, uniting people of different religious and educations.

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