The History of Cigars

Explore the fascinating journey of the cigar throughout the centuries .


England is so enamored of tobacco that the highest quality Spanish tobacco sells for $125 a pound in today’s dollars.


Spanish King decrees tobacco may be grown only in specific colonies, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo and Venezuela. Direct sale of tobacco to foreigners is punishable by death.


Londoners spend £320,000 a year on tobacco. £120,000 of which still ends up in the hands of the Spanish. The Portuguese and Dutch also cash in on England’s addiction. The English need more colonies in the new world so they too can grow tobacco for the mother country.


Explorers Hudson and Champlain discover NY state Iroquois growing tobacco in the Chemung Valley (near today’s Elmira).


William Strachey, the first secretary of Jamestown, describes two types of wild tobacco, varying in height from roughly two to eight feet. Planting of higher quality seed from the Caribbean tobacum seed begins as soon as seed can be smuggled or otherwise obtained.


The first cigar store figure reported in London. These symbols became necessary to inform a largely illiterate population that tobacco was available for purchase at their tavern, wine and ale house, apothecary, grocery, chandlery or tobacconist shop.


House of Commons in England votes unanimously “that the importation of Spanish tobacco is one of the causes of want of money within the kingdom.” England was undergoing a severe coin shortage, and would soon ban importation other than from their New World colonies.