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www.tobacco.org

THE TOBACCO TIMELINE

Author: Gene Borio

IN THE BEGINNING . . .

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 . . .

TOBACCO TIMELINE

Copyright 1993-2007 Gene Borio

SOURCES: Thanks to tobacco researcher Larry Breed (LB) for his contributions. He recently found a little tome called "This Smoking World" (1927), and shared some of its events (TSW). I am also beginning to incorporate events referenced in Richard Kluger's monumental Ashes to Ashes (RK), The American Tobacco Story (ATS), Corti's "A History of Smoking (1931), Elizabeth Whelan's A Smoking Gun, and Susan Wagner's Cigarette Country (1971). Another important source is Bill Drake's wonderful The European Experience With Native American Tobacco (BD). Many will be interested in the 1989 Surgeon General report segment, "ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE OF THE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF SMOKING" (PDF, 93 pp).

Prelude

  • Prehistory: Although small amounts of nicotine may be found in some Old World plants,

including belladonna and Nicotiana africana, and nicotine metabolites have been found in human remains and pipes in the Near East and Africa, there is no indication of habitual tobacco use in the Ancient world, on any continent save the Americas.

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

  • c. 6000 BCE: Experts believe the tobacco plant, as we know it today, begins growing in the

Americas.

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