In 1492 Columbus arrived off of the coast of Cuba to find an entirely different world. While Columbus is often credited with discovering cigars it was really two of his crewmen that are said to have encountered tobacco for the first time. Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres saw tobacco for the first time on the island of Hispaniola. It was here that they witnessed natives smoking dried leaves. As more of the New World was discovered it became obvious that many tribes from Mexico and North America also used tobacco as a daily part of life.
Columbus and his men packed up some of their newly discovered tobacco and returned to Spain. The rolling process was quickly learned and smoking tobacco in cigars and pipes spread throughout Europe. Smoking soon became a pastime among French, Spanish, Portuguese and the British. With the high demand for tobacco, farmers in the New World realized they could earn a lot of money growing and tobacco plantations flourished.
Soon cigar factories started popping up all over the newly formed United States and historical icons such as Mark Twain, praised the use of tobacco and cigars. Perhaps one of the most historical moments in cigar history is when John F. Kennedy imposed the embargo on Cuba, led by another smoker, Fidel Castro. Funny enough, before Kennedy signed the embargo he had his secretary get as many H. Upmann petit corona’s he could find.
As time went on more and more people discovered the pleasures of premium cigars and the industry took off. The world’s love for a good cigar will remain strong and despite the issues the premium cigar industry is up against today with the FDA, one thing remains sure, people will always love their cigars.