History of tobacco
Till the end of the15th century this plant probably was not known to other people except autochthonous inhabitants of American continent. Archeological excavations showed that 4000 years ago, probably even earlier, north Americans smoked tobacco. In ancient civilizations was told a lot about magical and medicinal properties of tis plant.
The word “tobacco” probably takes its origin from the Tobago isle. Concerning evidence of Spanish sailors, who arrived the coast of the present-day Central America on October, 15 1492 with Columbus expedition, the word “tobacco” used by local aborigines to call big convolute leaves for ritual smoking. Afterwards Spanish and Portuguese brought leaves and seeds in Europe and notwithstanding the bans of Inquisition, Europeans began to cultivate tobacco.
Ambassador of France by Portuguese court Jean Nico in 1560sent some tobacco to queen Catherine Medici, recommended it as the medicine from sick headache. Soon after it snuff tobacco became very fashionable everywhere in France. In the honor of Nico the plant was named Nicotiana in latin language, and the substance educed from this plant in the beginning of 19 century was called Nicotine.
From the second half of 16th century tobacco became very popular as a medicinal plant, almost panacea. Was used snuff tobacco, piped tobacco, people chewed tobacco, mixed it with other substances for treating the cold disease, headache and toothache, skin and infections diseases.
In 1580 English nobleman, a chain smoker, sailor and poet, Sir Walter Raily created a tobacco plantation in Ireland and lately in other colonial American territories. He called one of them Virginia, and the sort of tobacco was called after this name.
In the beginning of 17th century on the territory of the modern America, mainly in English colonies, appeared and other tobacco plantations. In 1611 such plantation was created in Virginia by Englishman John Rolf .
Tobacco seeds were imported by him from Trinidad and Venezuela, and the technology was borrowed from Walter Raily (and improved it on). In 8 years began exporting of tobacco from Virginia to England, and John Rolf by himself settled in New World and even got married to daughter of an Indian chief who gave him an advice to try tobacco planting.
Among noblemen were and other admirers of tobacco. King of Prussia Frederick I (beginning of 18th century) organized smoking festivals by German court and his son, Frederick-William I even founded “Tobacco board” , where on its meetings were discussed about politics, state by having smoked tobacco. From Russian lovers of tobacco was Peter I.
There were and opponents against tobacco. King of England James I in the beginning of 17th century appeared against smoking and considered this habit harmful for the health, relaxing people and weakening the state’s forth. He introduced tax for importing tobacco in England. Roughly speaking the same did cardinal Richelieu in France.
Of course this did not stop tobacco spreading, but encouraged contraband importing. On the East especially in hot climate smoking often became the reason of fire, smoking was prosecuted roughly. In Turkey smokers were subjected to physical punishments, shameful ceremonies and even was sentenced to death. In Japan person might be imprisoned and in Russia people could be tortured. The truth is that all the bans did not rooted out this habit, they even do not help now when every children knows that smoking damages to the health.
During the times of America discovery tobacco was wide-spread. Indians from Southern and Central America smoked long cigars rolled from leaves of cohiba plant (inhabitants of South America smoke them till now). In Cuban Indians’ language word “cohibo” meant process of smoking. Spanish and Portuguese people borrowed cigars and spread them in Europe in the first half of the17th century. In Mexico and North America Aztecs and Indians smoked pipes. As English people began their colonization of New World from North America so they borrowed pipe smoking and even launched tobacco manufacturing from special heather bush.
History established the exact date and circumstances under which population of Europe perceived the delight of tobacco smoking. In 1597 Roman Panov in his narration about Columbus’s second travel in America tells us details about spread traditions among people of this country to smoke tobacco. In the first Columbus’s travel in 1492 inhabitants of the Antilles appeared before him in tobacco smoke, they rolled tobacco in maize leaf and gave him the cigar-like shape. Further travelers found out that smoking piped tobacco is widespread at the territory of America and only in some parts of east coast of South America smoking was replaced by chewing tobacco.
Firstly, Europeans noticed that tobacco leaves are herbs, also tobacco leaves can suppress starvation and support cheerfulness.
Citizen of Milan city Jirolamo Benzonni who lived in Mexico between 1541 and 1555 informed that smoking tobacco is named in this country as “tobacco”, from here and began European word “tobacco”. In 1556 participant of French expedition to Southern America missioner Andrew Thevet brought tobacco seeds to Paris, these seeds he named as le Petun .
Thevet described the process of smoking on the isles of Maraniene river where dried tobacco leaves were rolled into palm leaves so the long pipe was shape-formed. In 1560 French messenger in Lisbon Jean Nicot brought seeds of this plant to France where he put the start of cultural cultivation of tobacco. Botanist Dalechamp described tobacco for the first time in his book “History of plants” (Historia plantarum, 1586) and called it after the name of Nico Nicotiana.
French people began to cultivate tobacco as a herb and as a ornamental plant. Only in 1585 landed group of soldiers in Spain and Portugal demonstrated to Europeans their unusual people who puffed smoke from their mouth and nose. In Germany expression Geute “well-educated person does not smoke” was disproved in real life.
English king James in 1604 composed his “contropposition of tobacco” where he described smoking as “disgusting tradition for an eye, hateful for nose, harmful for chest, dangerous for lungs; black smoke is alike smoke from hell. James’s abusive treatise is explained by makhorka which reached England before natural tobacco.
Peter I became passionate smoker during his visit to England, before him in Russia people were whipped because of smoking and banished to Siberia. Snuff tobacco powder was widespread also, expensive snuff-boxes appeared. Were used long narrow smoking pipes and most people begun to collect them. In Moslem countries appeared odd appliances such as nargile, hookahs and others, where smoke goes through vessel with water and then through curved offtake in smoker’s lungs. Triumphal procession led him in 16th century to India, Indonesia, Japan, to Oceania islands. For most countries tobacco manufacturing became the main source of state budget (e.g. in Turkey).