Whether it’s the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger, Demi Moore, or your neighbor puffing away on a cigar on their back porch, that nonchalant attitude while smoking a cigar is an inevitable common dominator. Cigars play a vital role in cultures, including prohibition attempts in Britain, lounging for hours after dinner with a glass of port in the 70s, and unwinding on tropical vacations today.
Daily and occasional cigar smokers both wonder: how did cigars come about? Who were cigars invented by? Where, and for what purpose? Let’s dig a little deeper into the complex art of manufacturing a cigar, which leads to the simplicity of taking the time to relax with a cigar in hand.
When Were Cigars Invented?
Cigars, tobacco rolled in flavorful plant papers (typically plantain or tobacco leaves), have been around so long that it is uncertain how they first came about. The first noted recognition of cigars dates back to when Christopher Columbus sailed to America in 1492 when Mayan-Indians introduced smoking tobacco to the sailors.
Then, Columbus and his crew brought back the phenomena of smoking cigars to Europe, believing that they discovered a valuable commodity. They were right. Starting in Spain and then soon trickling over to Portugal, France, Italy and Britain, smoking tobacco flourished among Europeans. Tobacco was often smoked in pipes, and it wasn’t until later that the hand-rolled Cuban cigar was perfected.
However, the Mayan-Indian imprint on cigars will forever remain, because the word ‘cigar’ originally came from Mayan-Indian word for smoking – ‘sikar’, which later became ‘cigarro’ in Spanish.
Why Is Cuba Famous For Cigars?
Contrast to common belief, Cuba is not where cigars were invented. It is uncertain who the very first people who smoked cigars were, but it was most likely the Mayans in Mexico and Central America who inspired Christopher Columbus and crew to bring the cigars back home to Europe.
Cuba is famous for is its tobacco. With an ideal climate for tobacco plants, the original Cuban cigar was made in Spain using tobacco shipped from Cuba. Spaniards tried to grow tobacco closer to where the cigars were rolled to skip the importation process, but the disappointing results led them to simply import tobacco from where it grew naturally – Cuba.
Why Were Cigars Invented In The First Place?
Before cigars became notorious for an excuse to simply relax, the Indians used cigars for medicinal purposes, believing that smoking tobacco was good for their health. Cigars were also a part of Mayan-Indian tradition during ceremonies and celebrations.
Later, in Europe, cigars became a way to pass the time, and soon the flavorful combination of exquisite tastes of diverse papers with smoke became a sought after luxury.
How Cigars Developed Over Time
Cigars are quite different today than they were at first discovery in the ‘New World’. Thanks to ancient Mayan pictures portraying men enjoying a smoke, we know cigars have been around for over one thousand years.
Back in the day, cigars were only hand rolled, but now there are manufacturers who use machines to roll cigars. However, the finest cigars are still those that are hand-rolled.
Throughout generations and centuries, an art of curing and fermenting the tobacco for a smooth taste was perfected; people have played with many different flavors to successfully discover what we know as a cigar today.
Enjoying A Smoke
Overall, cigars make a perfect excuse to sit and ponder about life, since we so often rush around and fidget with nothing to do. There are a few different ways to smoke a cigar, and a variety of options of how people prefer to smoke one: on the beach, after dinner, the back porch, with a friend, alone, etc., and it is exceptionally special to know a bit about how the cigar emerged as you enjoy a smoke.