Cigars in Cuba
The tobacco plant originally carne from South Amenca.Even though it is impossible to state exactly when it was brought to the largest island in the Antilles, it can be said that that happened between 3000 and 2000 B.C.
The aborigines considered tobacco a miraculous medicine and an essential element in their religious, political and social ceremonies. It was a part of their agrlculture and an inseparable adjunct of life.Europeans were introduced to this planta source of great physical and splrltual pleasure when they first reached the Amencas. It didn't take long for the Old ConUnent to develop a veritable passion for it. As was only to be expected, Spain had the most smokers who were also the first to be subjected to terrible punishments for smoking.The habit later spread to Persia, Japan, Turkey and Russia, where the cruelest punishments were established. Cunously, as bans on smoking gained ground, tobacco was increasingly used for medicinal purposes.On April 11, 1717, King Philip V established a royal monopoly on tobacco-growers in Cuba a decision which has gone down in history as the Estanco del Tabaco. Tobacco-growers who opposed the onerous law lost their lives.The monopoly remained in effect until June 23, 1817, when a royal decree did away with the monopoly, permitting free trade between Cuba and the rest of the known world as long as it was through Spanish ports.No slaves were used in tobacco-growing. Sugarcane wasn't such a delicate crop, and slaves could be used in its cultivation and harvesting, but, as Josť Marti said, tobacco plants had to be handled as carefully as if they were fine ladies.
Immigrants from the Canary Islands worked in the tobacco fields, laying the foundations for a very special breed: Cuban farmers.The 19th century provided the final reaffirmation of Cuba's tobacco production. Suffice it to say that, in 1859, there were nearly 10,000 tobacco plantations and around 1300 cigar factories in the capital. Cuba entered the 20th century in very precarious conditions, for its devastating wars of independence had just ended.