The History of Cigars in the Old World

babciaChristopher Columbus can rightly be regarded as the pioneer of cigars in Europe, who in October 1492, accidentally reached the lands of the New World. There he met tribes that smoked tobacco leaves for centuries. The Indians rolled wild and rough tobacco leaves and puffed them up. The size of their cigar was not like the ones we smoke today. Their thickness was five times wider than the modern cigars. It is also known that the Mayan people of the Central America used to smoke and grow tobacco for religious purposes. Even today, archeologists come across discoveries in the form of pipes that were used for smoking tobacco (the so-called Peace Pipe). The Mayans had settled in present day North and South Americas, and as a result, the native people of these lands historically had the habit of smoking tobacco leaves.

The Indians believe that the cigar was brought to them from God, and that it was ignited by a lighting strike. The cigars were used by them during religious performances to call and connect with gods. As a result, smoking in the old days was not perceived as it is now – an addition, but rather it was a magical and cultural ritual. Smoking cigars was associated with gods, and so tobacco smoke was also used as a treatment of various diseases.

During the 16th century when tobacco was first delivered to Europe and the Old World, it was long believe that the smoke from a cigar had healing properties, relieves pain and gives a positive effect on the patient. Therefore, it was in demand among Europeans as a medical herb. Tobacco became popular not only in the form smoking, but also sniffing, chewing, and mixing with various substances. However, the tobacco in the times of the Inquisition was forbidden under pain of trial and punishment, together with many other discoveries and innovations that violated the image of the church.

However, cigars became increasingly popular among the nobles as an inaccessible and scarce luxury that others could not afford. With rising demand on tobacco, trade routes were established, and with increased supply, the prices became more affordable. The tobacco was grown in America’s plantations, and then transported across the ocean to the Old World. This is how a religious instrument of the Indian tribes became a tobacco product. Soon after, the first factory was established by the Spaniards in 1542, on the island of Cuba. It manufactured cigars “from the source” based on technologies of the Indian tribes.

It’s been 200 years since the cigar industry began its history in Europe. The production of cigars in Europe was also established by the Spaniards, in the city of Seville (Spain). It was the first ever European factory that specialized in the production of cigars.

Since that time, a large number of cigar manufactures appeared all over the world, including Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, United States, Honduras, Jamaica, as well as in Europe and Asia. Tobacco from Cuba, Brazil and Indonesia is considered to be of top quality, due to the special habitat and climate that prevails in these areas. This tobacco has its own taste and flavor that cannot be confused with any other tobacco.