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Chapter 2

The Sixteenth Century--Sailors Spread the Seeds

"All along the sea routes ... wherever they had trading posts, the Portuguese began the limited planting of tobacco. Before the end of the sixteenth century they had developed these small farms to a point where they could be assured of enough tobacco to meet their personal needs, for gifts, and for barter. By the beginning of the seventeenth century these farms had, in many places, become plantations, often under native control."

  • --

    Jerome Edmund Brooks, "The Mighty Leaf; Tobacco through the Centuries." Boston, Little,

Brown (1952)

JAPAN: Dutch and Portuguese trading vessels calling at ports in Nagasaki and Kagoshima introduce tobacco. It is spread through the country over the ensuing decades, often by Buddhist monks, who use tobacco seeds to pay for lodging along the routes of their pilgrimages.

  • 1518: MEXICO: JUAN DE GRIJALVA lands in Yucatan, observes cigarette smoking by

natives (ATS)

  • 1518: SPAIN: Fernando Cortez brings tobacco to Spain, at the request of Ramon Pane

  • 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--

is transplanted from Central American mainland to Cuba and Santo Domingo.(ATS)

  • 1535: CANADA: Jacques Cartier encounters natives on the island of Montreal who use

tobacco. "In Hochelaga, at the head of the river in Canada, grows a certain herb which is stocked in large quantities by the natives during the summer season, and on which they set great value. Men alone use it, and after drying it in the sun they carry it around their neck wrapped up in the skin of a small animal, like a sac, with a hollow piece of stone or wood. When the spirit moves them, they pulverize this herb and place it at one end, lighting it with a fire brand, and draw on the other end so long that they fill their bodies with smoke until it comes out of their mouth and nostrils as from a chimney. They claim it keeps them warm and in good health. They never travel without this herb." --- Smoke and Mirrors, p. 30

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

  • 1554: ANTWERP: 'Cruydeboeck' presents first illustration of tobacco. (LB)


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