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>> Tobacco in the New World

efore its initial discovery by European explorers, tobacco was cultivated and smoked by the indigenous people of the Caribbean Islands and areas of what is now South America. It was revered, and held a special place in the lives of indigenous cultures through frequent use in religious ceremonies. Tobacco, in many forms, was often presented as a token of peace or as a gift by the indigenous populations when their lands were discovered by explorers of the New World. With the “discovery” of tobacco in the New World by adventurous explorers such as Columbus (and those who followed) its rise to nobility began. Along with the tantalizing prospect of gold & silver that the Americas promised, it was tobacco in the form of “cigarros” that was said to have been presented to Pope Alexander VI at the Vatican by Royal Ambassadors from Spain. These cigars were given as a gift from the New World and as a part of a peace offering on behalf of the newly formed alliance.


By John Dade

The Business of Cigars…Think about that phrase, and everything it encapsulates for just a moment. Now, what does that mean to you…the reader? I often wonder, how many of my fellow enthusiasts have given thought to the impact our little 6.5” X 52 ring gauge rolls of tobacco have had on our world, its customs, and history? How was it that cigars became unconsciously intertwined in our lives, as well as the lives of those who are not cigar smokers? There is a certain enjoyment to exploring the profound impact cigars have had on our lives. There is a rich history to the world of cigars and luxury tobacco; a history that one can read about, explore and contemplate while actually enjoying a fine cigar. In fact, it facilitates this mental exercise most perfectly. So while I sit here with my favorite spirit and a fine Maduro, I put to paper the musings of this enthusiast for your consideration.


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It’s important to remember, that in the New Americas, our Founding Fathers—many of which were landowners and farmers—were fond of tobacco as well. Many grew tobacco, which at that time was a well-respected and prized crop.

Photo Courtesy Of Kamira /


From there, the enjoyment of cigarros spread throughout the known world, and across the seas – it was just the beginning of the global impact that tobacco would have on the world.

>> “Calle Ocho” in Miami, Florida.

Fast forward to the America’s in the late 1800s, on a small island of the coast of the South Eastern point of America, is the birthplace of what many connoisseurs believe are the finest cigars in the world - Cuba. It wasn’t long before Cuban cigars became what every cigar aspired to emulate, and aptly best. So much so, that one significant person made certain not be caught short of supply of them…but we’ll get to that later. While Cuban Cigars have their place in history, let’s not forget that cigar manufacturing, both hand and machine made had a major impact in the Eastern US job market and economy from the early 1900s onward. Cigar production was big business up and down the Eastern seaboard, employing thousands of workers. Sadly, only a small remnant of those glory days remain today, along the area known as “Calle Ocho” in Miami, Florida. During that wonderful period from the late 1800s through the

Roaring 1920s including the Crash of ’29 onward to the late 1930s, fine cigars were looked upon as a symbol of wealth & status. They were enjoyed by many of the great shakers, movers and builders of American industry including commerce, banking and those commonly known as “underworld” figures; The infamous Al Capone being one such character. Later, as the US climbed its way out of the Depression, even the average Joe could enjoy a cigar on occasion. Although probably not the best quality, which lead to Thomas R. Marshall, the 28th Vice President of the United States under Woodrow Wilson to coin the phrase, ”What this country needs is a really good 5¢ cigar,” during a heated Senate debate. Imagine that poor fellows fate today!


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