It’s a hip, fashionable pastime, right? But that doesn’t mean cigar smoking is a new thing. Rather, it’s a classic notion that gets a new modern twist every few decades.
Why do you think it’s important to know its history? I personally don’t want to be caught off guard.
You know there’s always someone who wants to know why you pick cigars. Why not smoke a cigarette like all the rest?
Personally I love the flavor, but I also love the history. Cigars play a role in many countries’ histories. And I want future generations to enjoy it as much as I do. So when someone asks me questions I’m always informed.
Make sure you sound knowledgeable so others can have as much respect for cigars as we do. These facts will get you started.
No One Knows Where Cigars Had Their Origin
There’s no reason to concoct long stories about how the very popular type you’re smoking has been around since the beginning.
No one knows where the beginning is. Proof of cigar type smoking dates back to the 10th century. On pot shards in Guatemala a Mayan figure is etched. The figure smokes leaves that are tied together with string. That’s as close to a rudimentary cigar you’ll get.
But is this the first cigar? It’s a possibility. And since the Mayan word for smoking is ‘sikar’ it may not be far from the truth. But who knows what archaeologists will discover in future.
For now, simply entertain people with this image. And revel in the fact that if the hobby didn’t die out in 11 centuries it won’t disappear now.
It Wasn’t Always Part of the Modern World
Today cigars are symbols of luxury and extravagance. The rich have made it part of their culture.
But centuries ago modern societies didn’t even know about it. Luckily for smokers like you and me Christopher Columbus & his ship’s crew discovered tobacco leaves in the 1490s.
They were found on Haiti, the Dominican Republic and many other Caribbean islands.
These sailors were the first Europeans to form this habit you and I are now used to. They smoked rolls of leaves which were another form of primitive cigars.
This habit spread to Spain, Portugal and France. And so the modern day smoker was born.
It was so important to the Spaniards—who also coined the name—that they started the first cigar factory in America in 1542.
From here on tobacco trading became popular. But cigars themselves only became prominent during the 1700s.
I shudder to think how we could have missed out on this pastime if a few individuals didn’t pursue the activity. It could have been forgotten, as cigarettes were almost forgotten about in the 1800s.
Luckily there have been many developments and today we live in an era where cigars are easily available.
Modern Labor Unions are the Results of Cigars
But it’s so widely used because of industrialization. You can’t provide enough cigars for consumers by only using manual processes.
During the 1800s the tobacco trade had to turn to mechanized manufacturing. By this time it was an important industry and manufacturers had to improve methods to stay ahead in the market.
And the workers were livid. They protested and went on labor strikes. This could have brought the industry to its knees. Luckily it simply resulted in entities that fight for people’s rights to this day: Labor unions.
Can you see how the tobacco and cigar industry helped form modern society as we know it today? That’s already something to be proud of.
Famous People Made Cigars Expensive
Note that cigars were still an affordable option in these times. In the 1900s American citizens used up to 300 million cigars every year.
But then they got popular among the rich and famous. And with popularity came price increases. Thanks to these famous cigar lovers you have to shell out slightly more for cigars than a few decades ago:
– Mark Twain the famous writer loved smoking and was famous for it.
– The King of England loved it but he had to wait until he became king before he could do it in his own home. Before that his mother—Queen Victoria—forbade it. And when he had the freedom to do it, the court and country leaders followed suit.
– Even Sigmund Freud loved cigars. And if the experts are doing it, why should the public not indulge too?
Over the course of a few decades this popularity—and trade embargos with certain cigar producing countries—caused cigar prices to spike.
Perhaps You’ll Pay Less in Future
But there are many factors that determine cigar prices. You don’t have to pay exorbitant prices to enjoy your favorite hobby.
You already have the benefit of enjoying flavorful cigars at affordable prices. They’re made by machines. This robs it of some of its character but not every factory made cigar is of low quality. It’s a competitive industry and companies know they must impress clients.
Of course, the best cigars are hand rolled and use the best tobacco. But some of these products may become—legally—available in future again if all trade embargos are lifted. And this is a very real possibility.
You can see tobacco almost disappeared off the scene over the years. If it weren’t for people who kept on developing the plants and the trade, you wouldn’t be holding the cigar you enjoy today. Let’s honor everyone who helped build this rich history by learning of the trials they went through. It makes for interesting conversation. Perhaps someone else gets curious enough to try what you’re so passionate about.