Cigar Detective - When were cigars invented

When were cigars invented? Historical journey of cigars

The Mayan Origins: Where It All Began

Delving into the ancient Mayan civilization reveals intriguing insights into the origins of cigars. Historians suggest that around the 10th century BCE, the Mayans pioneered the art of cigar making. Utilizing tobacco, they ingeniously rolled it into palm or plantain leaves, crafting what we now recognize as cigars. The Mayan term "sikar," meaning "to smoke tobacco leaves," serves as the etymological foundation for the English word "cigar," as well as the Spanish "cigarro."

The Mayan civilization immortalized their smoking tradition in art, with depictions found in artifacts such as "The Vase of the Smoking Monkey," dating back to the Classic period (AD 250 to AD 900). This artistic representation possibly portrays a Mayan deity indulging in the act of smoking, further highlighting the integral role of cigars in their culture.

The European Encounter: Columbus's Serendipitous Encounter

Tobacco's journey to Europe unfolds dramatically with Christopher Columbus's legendary voyage in 1492. Upon landing in the Bahamas, Columbus received a peculiar gift from the natives of San Salvador: dried tobacco leaves. Initially dismissing them as inedible, he cast them aside. However, it was during a subsequent stop in Cuba that the true purpose of these leaves was unveiled. Observing the indigenous people, including his crewmate Rodrigo de Jerez, engaging in smoking rituals, Columbus's expedition inadvertently introduced tobacco to Europe.

Rodrigo de Jerez: A Condemned Pioneer

Cigar Detective - When were cigars invented? Historical journey of cigars - Rodrigo de Jerez

Rodrigo de Jerez, inspired by the smoking customs observed in Cuba, became one of the first Europeans to adopt tobacco consumption. Upon returning to Spain, he faced harsh repercussions from the Spanish Inquisition, who deemed smoking as diabolical. Accused of consort with Satan, Jerez endured seven years of imprisonment for his newfound habit. Despite his ordeal, tobacco's allure continued to spread across Europe, transcending social and religious barriers.

The European Expansion: Tobacco's Rapid Spread

In the wake of Rodrigo de Jerez's ordeal, tobacco proliferated throughout Europe at an unprecedented pace. By the late 16th century, it had permeated societies across the continent. The University of Minnesota Libraries notes significant milestones in tobacco's European journey, with its arrival in France (1556), Portugal (1558), Spain (1559), and England (1565). This rapid dissemination underscores tobacco's transformative impact on European culture and commerce.

Unraveling the Enigma of Cuban Cigars

Cuba's association with cigars traces back to the early 16th century, during the reign of King Philip II of Spain. Emerging as one of the pioneering hubs of cigar production, Cuba played a pivotal role in shaping the global tobacco trade. The allure of Cuban cigars lies not only in their exquisite craftsmanship but also in their rich historical legacy. As Rodrigo de Jerez and his contemporaries ignited Europe's fascination with tobacco, Cuba emerged as a beacon of cigar excellence, leaving an indelible mark on the world of tobacco aficionados.

Historical Event Date
Mayan Invention of Cigars 10th century BCE
Introduction of Tobacco to Europe by Columbus 1492
Rodrigo de Jerez's Adoption of Tobacco Late 15th century
Tobacco's Spread Across Europe Late 16th century
Arrival of Tobacco in France 1556
Arrival of Tobacco in Portugal 1558
Arrival of Tobacco in Spain 1559
Arrival of Tobacco in England 1565
Cuba's Establishment as a Cigar Production Hub Early 16th century

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Cigar Detective - When were cigars invented? Historical journey of cigars

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