bat nigeria - History of tobacco



History of tobacco“We found a man in a canoe going from Santa Maria to Fernandia.  He had with him…some dried leaves which are in high value among them, for a quantity of it was brought to me at San Salvador”. 15 October 1492. - Christopher Columbus’ Journal, 15 October 1492.

“There is a herb which is sowed apart by itself and is called by the inhabitants Uppowoc.  In the West Indies it hath diverse names, according to the several places and countries where it growth and is used: the Spaniards generally call it Tabacco.” Land of Virginia", 1588 - Thomas Hariot, "A Brief and True Account of the New Found Land of Virginia". 1588.

Tobacco has been smoked for at least the last three thousand years.  Christopher Columbus found it when he landed in the Americas in 1492, but ancient temple carvings show tobacco being smoked in Central America as long ago as 1,000 BC.

Ever since it arrived in Europe in the late 15th century, tobacco has divided opinion, sparked controversy and generated substantial revenue through tax.  Not long after it reached Europe, it was being described in terms ranging from “vile custom of manifold abuses” and “feast for the fiend” to “the divine herb” and “cornucopia of all earthly pleasure”.

Tobacco has periodically been subject to royal disapprovals, the whims of fashionable use, medicinal studies, smuggling, trade disputes and bans.


Page last updated: 21/07/2010 15:59:00 GMT