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Timeline Essay, Research Paper


Huron Indian myth has it that in ancient times, when the land was barren and the people were starving, the Great Spirit sent forth a woman to save humanity. As she traveled over the world, everywhere her right hand touched the soil, there grew potatoes. And everywhere her left hand touched the soil, there grew corn. And when the world was rich and fertile, she sat down and rested. When she arose, there grew tobacco . . .

? The sacred origin of tobacco and the first pipe (Schoolcraft)

? c. 6000 BC: Experts believe the tobacco plant, as we know it today, begins growing in the Americas.

? c. 1 BCE: Experts believe American inhabitants begin finding ways to use tobacco, including smoking (via a number of variations) and in enemas.

? c. 1 CE: Tobacco was “nearly everywhere” in the Americas. (American Heritage Book of Indians, p.41).

? 600-1000 CE: UAXACTUN, GUATEMALA. First pictorial record of smoking: A pottery vessel found here dates from before the 11th century. On it a Maya is depicted smoking a roll of tobacco leaves tied with a string. The Mayan term for smoking was sik’ar



The Chiapas Gift, or The Indians’ Revenge?

? 1492-10-15: Columbus Discovers Smoking

? 1497: Robert Pane, who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493, writes the first report of native tobacco use to appear in Europe.

? 1518: MEXICO: JUAN DE GRIJALVA lands in Yucatan, observes cigarette smoking by natives (ATS)

? 1519: MEXICO: CORTEZ conquers AZTEC capitol, finds Mexican natives smoking perfumed reed cigarettes.(ATS)

? 1530: MEXICO: BERNARDINO DE SAHAGUN, missionary in Mexico, distinguishes between sweet commercial tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and coarse Nicotiana rustica.(ATS)

? 1531: SANTO DOMINGO: European cultivation of tobacco begins

? 1534: CUBA, SANTO DOMINGO: “Tall tobacco”?sweet, broadleaved Nicotiana tabacum?transplanted from Central American mainland to Cuba and Santo Domingo.(ATS)

? 1548: BRAZIL: Portuguese cultivate tobacco for commercial export.

? 1554: ANTWERP: ‘Cruydeboeck’ presents first illustration of tobacco. (LB)

? 1535: CANADA: Jacques Cartier encounters natives on the island of Montreal who use tobacco.

? 1556: FRANCE: Tobacco is introduced. Thevet transplants Nicotiana tabacum from Brazil, describes tobacco as a creature comfort. (ATS)

? 1558: PORTUGAL: Tobacco is introduced.

? 1559: SPAIN: Tobacco is introduced.

? 1560: PORTUGAL, FRANCE: Jean Nicot de Villemain, France’s ambassador to Portugal, writes of tobacco’s medicinal properties, describing it as a panacea. Nicot sends rustica plants to French court.

? 1564 or 1565: ENGLAND: Tobacco is introduced by Sir John Hawkins and/or his crew. For the next twenty years in England, tobacco is used cheifly by sailors, including those employed by Sir Francis Drake.

? 1566: FRANCE: Nicot sends snuff to Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, to treat her migraine headaches. She later decrees tobacco be termed Herba Regina

? 1568: FRANCE: Andre Thevet provides first description of tobacco use. In Brazil, he wrote, the people smoke it and it cleans the “superfluous humours of the brain”. Thevet smoked it himself. (LB)

? 1570: Claimed first botanical book on tobacco written by Pena and Lobel of London.(TSW)

? 1571: SPAIN: MEDICINE: Monardes, a doctor in Seville, reports on the latest craze among Spanish doctors–the wonders of the tobacco plant, which herbalists are growing all over Spain. Monardes lists 36 maladies tobacco cures.

? 1573: ENGLAND: Sir Francis Drake returns from Americas with ‘Nicotina tobacum’. (LB)

? 1575: MEXICO: LEGISLATION: Roman Catholic Church passes a law against smoking in any place of worship in the Spanish Colonies

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