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THIS WEBSITE BELONGS TO CENTRAL TOBACCO RESEARCH INSTITUTE,RAJAHMUNDRY, INDIAN COUNCIL OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH, AN AUTONOMOUS ORGANIZATION UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

Origin Of The Crop

The information available on the origin and history of tobacco suffers generally from ambiguity and contradictions. Acording to one source, tobacco was in existence in Asia even during the 12th century, when it was not known elsewhere. It was not only used as an intoxicant but also as a cure for all kinds of ills and paying homage to deities. However, it was Christopher Columbus who discovered the narcotic qualities of tobacco by accident in the course of his American voyage in 1492. On landing in the Islands of Tobag, Columbus and his men were taken by surprise to find the natives either sniffing a powdered dry leaf with evident pleasure or smoking roughly made roll of dried-up leaves. On trying these themselves, Columbus and his men were satisfied with the intoxicant produced. They took along with them some quantity of dried leaves as well as that of the seeeds and that was how tobacco got introduced into Europe.

The Red Indians according to another version, used tobacco for both medicinal and ceremonial purposes. They used to inhale its smoke from burning leaf through the nostrils by means of a hollow forked cane and the name of the instrument was given to the plant which came to be known as `Tobaco' in Spanish and `Tobacco' in English. The plant was first introduced into Europe in the year 1560 by a Spanish physician sent to Mexico. About this time Jean Nicot, the French Ambassador to Portugal came to know of tobacco in Lisbon and introduced it to the French Court. The botanical name of the plant Nicotiana and the word nicotine have been derived from his name. The habit of smoking spread in several countries during the 17th century.

Tobacco is said to have been introduced into India in the beginning of 17th century. As elsewhere in the world, it has thrived in spite of considerable neglect and social disapproval.
 

History of Indian Tobacco