Tobacco plant was discovered in South America. Even though the exact timeline is still a matter of debate, we believe that the tobacco plant came to Cuba around 3,000 to 2,000 B.C. Tobaccos were always considered as a miracle medicine by the aborigines and was always a vital part of the political, social as well as religious ceremonies. Being a staple agricultural plant, tobacco became part of their everyday lives.
It was not before the Europeans visited the Americas, that they were introduced to this plant. It was an instant hit, being the source of immense spiritual and physical pleasure. And within a few years the whole Europe was under love for this plant. Very much expected – Spain became the first country to be having the maximum smokers in Europe. And much to the surprise, these Spanish smokers came under scrutiny and many punishments. And it spread to Persia, Turkey, Japan and even Russia, with the cruelest of punishments there. And even though it was banned in most of the world, tobacco was much used in medicine.
King Philip V, on April 11, 1717, came up with a royal monopoly, targeting the growth of tobacco in Cuba. It became known as the “Estanco del Tabaco” in history. Any grower of tobacco that opposed to this idea was massacred. This monopoly lasted till 1817, and was overcome by free trade policy in Cuba and the rest of the world. To add to all this there were no slaves used to grow tobacco. One major reason for no involvement of tobacco plants being harvested by slaves was the fact that was stated by José Martí, who said that tobacco should be handled with finesse and care as if they were fine looking ladies.
Many immigrants were used in the tobacco fields from the Canary Islands, and this served as the foundation of the famous Cuban farmers. By 1859, there were almost 10,000 tobacco plantations with over a staggering 1,300 factories of cigar in capital of the country. 20th century was started off by Cuba in uncertain conditions, as the war of independence and its damages were still much visible.
Back in 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh founded the quite infamous settlements of the Roanoke Island in Virginia. And even though this colony was short lived and even now nobody knows for sure over what happened, it did leave a damaging influence to this date. And it was at Roanoke that we saw the Europeans seriously get exposed to tobacco, and from here onwards, we came across the multi-billion dollar industry of cigarettes.
Britons, just like before, believed that this could be a great source of income and Queen Elizabeth I further hoped that it would act as a source to allow Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and even other privateers in harassing the Spanish traders and their shipments.
There is much more to know about the history of cigars, but BonnairUSA.com has tried to get you an idea of the legacy of this miracle plant.