A Journey Through Cigar History

INTRODUCTION

Cigars have been in existence for thousands of years, but it is still unknown how it was created. Christopher Columbus was the first westerner to discover the existence of the cigar in 1492. It is time to remind ourselves of the cigar’s versatile and rich history and the cultural significance attached to each brand. Cigars have played an important role in cultures for a long time. Although we can’t exactly tell where the cigar originated from, who invented it, or how it was invented, thankfully, some compulsive archaeological findings, we have been given more clues as to the true origin of the cigar. You’ll find out more about the history of the cigar in this article. Also, check out cigar wrappers guide and best cigars for more.

Cigars have a complex history with various advancements that have led it to where it is today. A cigar can be defined as ‘a bundle of tightly wounded tobacco that is lit with a little fire with the intent of drawing the smoke into the smoker’s mouth.’ It is believed that the Mayans were responsible for creating the cigar due to an ancient Mayan pot that depicts a man smoking a cigar, which was then tobacco wrapped in plantain or palm leaves. The native Americans were the first people known to grow and smoke the tobacco plant. The Maya of Central America used the tobacco plant. As soon as the Maya advancement was torn up, the separated clans moved tobacco Southward and even into South America and North America, where it was used in the rites of the Mississippi Indians. The word ‘tobacco’ is said to be originated from the word ‘Tobago,’ which is the name of a Caribbean island. However, some people claim it originates from the ‘Tabasco’ province of Mexico.mThe word ‘Cohiba’ was used by the Taino Indians of Cuba, which is considered to have referred to cigars. The ‘cigar’ word itself was derived from ‘sikar’, which means ‘smoking’ in Mayan language.

In 1492, native Indians introduced the tobacco plant to Christopher Columbus and his crew when they started trading the plants for other goods or services. Many of Columbus’ men were very interested in the tobacco plant and smoked it quite frequently, especially on their journey home. After this knowledge got to the hands of Christopher Columbus, smoking became quite popular in Spain and Portugal. A short while later, the French ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nicot made smoking of the cigar really famous in Portugal so much that it’s name ‘nicotine’ was really gotten from Jean Nicot’s name. After some time, smoking had spread further to Italy and some other European countries. At this juncture, the Spanish manufacturers had mastered the art of tying or rolling dried tobacco in a special type of paper that made the smoking of the cigar much easier and polished despite the criticism smoking received from monarchs of England and Spain.

Spain was responsible for most European cigars manufacture. Still, it was found out by the Spanish that Cuba was the most suitable place to grow tobacco due to its climate that was deemed perfect for growing the tobacco plant. This is one of the reasons why Cuban cigars are said to be one of the most popular cigars in the world. Spain tried to monopolize the industry in the beginning. Still, many manufacturers moved to Florida while others tried growing the tobacco plant in the Philippines, which was a Spanish colony then.

New York later became one of the most popular destinations for the manufacture of the cigar. People went on to try and create their cigars at home, which led to the ban on the cigar, which only lasted for four months, after which a lot of cigar manufacturers’ popularity grew.

THE CIGAR’S JOURNEY TO AMERICA

The first tobacco that was grown in America was planted in Windsor, Connecticut, in the year 1640. The pipe tobacco and cigar were famous worldwide, especially in Europe for almost three hundred years; even in the 18th century, cigarettes had gotten a clamp hold in the industry.

England and Spain were in their then usual power tussle those days. At some point, England held Havana captive for a period of nine months. During that time, a lot more international shipping moved through Cuba, which is more than Spain could achieve in the two hundred years that she had control over Antilles’ Pearl. The Cuban cigar was then introduced to the world. After this, Spain finally regained their control through a treaty, but the secret of the Cuban cigar was already out.

Cigars became more sought after than pipe tobacco in England. The famous Connecticut wrapper that is now loved in modern times all began with an English officer who lived in Hartford, Connecticut, and was at the siege of Havana. He returned to his home, but not without smuggling ample seeds that would, later on, adjust to the climate and produce more than thirty thousand cigars. In 1804, the order for the Havana cigar had spread to all parts of the world. By this time, most cigarettes were manufactured using the Connecticut wrapper and binder.

Throughout the following one hundred years, Cuba started to lag behind America in their cigar and tobacco production, even though America used to import its Tobacco from Cuba before growing it themselves. In 1860, America already had more than one thousand five hundred cigar factories. In the course of the next fifty years of the nineteenth century, A ton of iconic Cuban cigar brands was introduced, including Sancho Panza, Partagas, Monte, and El Rey del Mundo. Furthermore, famous American brands like La Palina were also emerging to the forefront. Although, during the period, Cuba was going through an uprising between the Spanish and Cuban people, so it wasn’t considered the most suitable place to carry out the cigar business. The year lasted for ten years as it started in 1868 as a revolution lead by the sugar and tobacco growers. The ongoing unreliability had many major tobacco farmers uncertain and moved their services to Key West. Shortly after, smaller companies began to move also. This lead to the city being referred to as Cigar City. By the year 1890, the number of factories in various states spiked to more than three thousand. The conflicts kept increasing and lasting in Cuba, which discouraged more cigar manufacturers, which led to their move to the states.

The biggest year of cigar production in America was 1920. Even with the ongoing prohibition, billions of cigars were said to be made that year. The rolling cigar machine was established in the year 1919. Following that, over four thousand of these machines were in function. This, in turn, helped to increase productivity by over three hundred percent, in comparison to the sales of the handmade cigars. Sadly, the spike in sales was cut short as a result of the great depression. The nickel cigar became the regular pick as personal incomes fell, and Americans could no longer afford the expensive Cuban cigars, priced at thirty cents to two dollars each.

THE REVOLUTION

Fidel Castro won the revolution in 1959. One year after, the cigar industry became federalized. The Cohiba brand cigar was established as a cigar for VIPS. By 1962, America enforced a ban on Cuban products, which made the country lose its most valuable market. In the period of the next thirty years, American cigar consumption decreased by a massive two-thirds.

New cigar territories emerged because many Cuban cigar makers fled the island with seeds of the tobacco plant. The famous Montecristo was rebranded in its new home in the Canary islands to Montecruz. A couple of recent countries had accepted the Cuban cigar. This led to the further rise of recent brands like Partagas and Hoyo de Monterrey. The cigar industry struggled during the 1980s, and there was no increase in new brands at this time. Business shrunk and deteriorated. Less amount of tobacco was grown, but at the beginning of the 1990s, the business started to grow once more. At the start of the 90s, America witnessed a noticeable reduction in cigarette smoking but a rise in cigar smoking. As the country was recently emerging from a recession, some wealthy people became richer, and these elite purchased cigars. Once again, the cigar became an attestation of wealth and pre-eminence.

The number of Dominican cigars rose by twenty percent in 1993, which resulted in over fifty-five million cigars. At this time, Cuban cigars continued to be the most sought for of all cigars. The Cohiba that was formerly designed as a private brand for only the wealthy in Cuba, became available for sale to the entire public outside of America. The soviet union was in shambles, and Cuba was in desperate need of money as a result. The rise in the sales of cigar lasted for five years.

The new change for consumers was established in 2014. President Barrack Obama loosened restrictions concerning the Americans journeying to Cuba and re-introducing Cuban cigars. Nowadays, you can buy these cigars in other countries and bring them into America, with a few restrictions. A premium cigar costs up to eight dollars, although you can also purchase one for way less.

THE CIGAR INDUSTRY TODAY AND ITS EVOLUTION

A lot of things have changed since Columbus showed tobacco to the world. The shape, flavor, and even how the cigar is rolled, where it’s rolled and how it is rolled, and more has changed. With time, the cigar continues to grow, with a handful of the elite brands manufacturing the purest taste of blends to hit the market. Despite the glaring risks of cigar smoking, the cigar is still a predominant fixture of pop culture. Actors, musicians, politicians, and even celebrities continue to smoke, as cigars are displayed now and then on our TVs or even in the film. Although the cigar industry is not what it used to be in the nineties when the industry was flourishing in the 1920s and early 1960s, we continue to witness a steady rise in sales. People tend to switch from cigarettes to a more processed way of enjoying tobacco.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF CIGARS

There are a few different kinds of cigars.some of these cigars are;

PAJERO; This was the original shape of a cigar that was designed by the Mayan Indians. It is shaped as a basic cylinder, which is the same shape that modern cigarettes are made. There are over twelve various types of Pajero cigars, like the Corona, Carlota, and Toro. Other Pajero cigars like the Rothschild, Lonsdale, and Churchill were named after elite people who publicly smoked and helped to improve the publicity of cigars.

FIGURADO; this cigar was quite popular in the 1800s, although not as regular as in recent times. They have an irregular shape that makes them eccentric. They are quite costly to produce and purchase. They are quite difficult to find for sale on the market. Some of these cigars are Torpedo, Presidente, and Toscano.

LITTLE CIGARS; These cigars came along a while later. Though they are quite similar in looks to modern cigarettes, they do not possess large tax on them like modern cigarettes. They have become quite celebrated over the years.

CONCLUSION

These days, the Pajero is the most regular brand, the original design created by the Mayans. Cigars have been in existence for thousands of years and were originally guided from the “recent world” back to Europe. Cigars have improved over the years from tieing up tobacco in a bundle of leaves to the premium cigars that are produced today by the most prominent cigar brands around the world.

After it was re-introduced to the world at large and in turn, the Europeans started the tobacco industry and made cigars quite popular worldwide. Although it has been made known that smoking may cause cancer and a score of other health problems, the act of smoking is still and continues to be a famous act around the world. Cigars have come a long way and continue to grow in popularity as the demand for it continues to grow.

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