Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: origin of tobacco ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: origin of tobacco
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: aohaega-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 23 Jun 2005 09:36 PDT
Expires: 23 Jul 2005 09:36 PDT
Question ID: 536317
When and where was the origin or foundation of tobacco? What i want to know is when
the people started to smoke and in what country by any method ( cigaret, pipe...etc)
Subject: Re: origin of tobacco
Answered By: websearcher-ga on 23 Jun 2005 09:52 PDT
Hello aohaega:

Thanks for the interesting question. 

The history of tobacco use is well represented on the Web. All sources
that I found tend to point to the native American (both north and
south) as the first users of tobacco around 1 B.C. The first "Western"
tobacco users appear to be the Spanish around 1492-1493.

The best and most thorough description of the chronological history of
tobacco that I was able to find is:


I've pulled out a few of the timeline elements that are most relevant
to your question:

* c.1 BCE: Experts believe American inhabitants have begun finding
ways to use tobacco, including smoking (in a number of variations),
chewing and in probably hallucinogenic enemas (by the Peruvian
Aguaruna aboriginals).

* 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.

* 1492-11: Jerez and Torres Discover Smoking; Jerez Becomes First European Smoker
Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, in Cuba searching for the Khan of
Cathay (China), are credited with first observing smoking.

This excellent and detailed history continues with the further links
under the "NAVIGATION" section at the bottom of the page.

Search Strategy (on Google):
* tobacco history

I hope this helps.


Request for Answer Clarification by aohaega-ga on 25 Jun 2005 01:42 PDT
could you tell me what these abreviations stand for:
c.1 BCE

600-1000 CE

And i want to know was it in Saudi arabia before 1500 years

Clarification of Answer by websearcher-ga on 25 Jun 2005 11:12 PDT
Hi aohaega:

Thanks for the clarification request. 

The comment below by frde-ga has dealt very well with the time-based
acronyms you ask about (thanks frde), so I won't go further into that.

I was unable to find any reference to the use of tobacco in Arabia
(what is now Saudi Arabia before 1500 AD.

Quote: "In the 17th century, however, tobacco made its way to the
Middle East and Sheesha smoking became popular. Unlike their Western
counterparts, the Turks had no interest in smoking plain tobacco. They
mixed it with fruit, molasses, and even honey so the smoke was sweet
and flavorful."

Quote: "Tobacco was probably first brought from English ships at
Constantinople in the reign of James I [1603-1625 AD]. It is
cultivated in every oasis, unless in the interior in Nejd, where its
use is discouraged on religious grounds."

Based, on this, it looks like tobacco came to Arabia in the 17th
century (i.e., the period from 1601 to 1700).

I hope this helps.

Subject: Re: origin of tobacco
From: frde-ga on 25 Jun 2005 03:59 PDT
I might as well save Websearcher answering that

BC stands for 'Before Christ'
AD stands for Anno Domini - year of the Lord - ie: after Christ's birth

Since quite a lot of people are not Christian, an alternative
convention has been evolved.

CE = Common Era = AD 
BCE = Before Common Era = BC

As for tobacco in Saudi before 1500 CE ( 1500 AD ) it seems unlikely.

I have heard suggestions that nicotine was found in the embalming
materials of Egyptian mummies, but if they had been smoking it, we
would have some evidence, for example they were pretty keen on Lotus
flowers that are a narcotic, which is why it turns up in their art

Circa 1500 CE Saudi almost certainly knew about other mild narcotics
such as the betel nut from India, also the obvious smokeable.

If tobacco was widely smoked, there would probably be widespread knowledge.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy