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Have you ever thought to yourself where tobacco cigars came to the United States and where they were originated? Year 1492, Christopher Columbus not only discovered a New World, but a wonderful new enjoyment that is delighting connoisseurs throughout the entire world to this day: Tobacco. On October 28, 1492 one of the Columbus lieutenants noticed the indigenous population of San Salvador burning leaves and inhaling the smoke from them. These leaves derived from a local plant were used to create tobacco cigars. Rodrigo de Xeres smoked one everyday while on his expedition and developed a strong passion for these newly discovered smokes. From tobacco, came the cigar, and with it the unprecedented popularity that spread throughout Europe and the United States, attracting presidents, kings, generals, gentlemen, and a fair number of women. In fact, in 1900 an estimated four out of five men in the U.S. were cigar smokers. The Spanish take credit for creating and developing modern tobacco cigars such as Arturo Fuente, Montecristo, Oliva, H. Upman, and Oliva. The word, "cigar", originates from the native language of the Mayans. Known as the "Sikar" in ancient times, the Spanish took this Mayan word and created a word in Spanish, "Cigarro". The Spaniards were the first to introduce this favorite past time to Europe. Eventually, they spread throughout Spain, Portugal, and France, via Jean Nicot (French ambassador to Portugal who used his last name to create the word, "nicotine"). Sir Walter Raleigh introduced them to Britain, upon his return from his voyages to America.
Different countries started to create cigars from various tobacco leaves. Cuba led the way in the industry. Early in the 16th century, Cuban peasants became tobacco growers. Later, the cigar became the country's national symbol and the Havana became recognized as the world's finest. Slowly thereafter, the Dutch started to develop their own cigar tobacco with the Far Eastern Colonies. The State of Connecticut started to grow their own tobacco during the 17th century, shortly followed by the states of Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The latter part of the 19th century proved to be quite profitable in terms of tobacco as Puerto Rico became the worlds fifth largest grower. Puerto Rico, from 1900 to 1927, produced over 35 million tons of cigar tobacco. The Dominican Republic alone produces almost half of the hand-made sticks sold in the U.S. Today, the U.S. is one of the largest producers in the world as well as one of the worlds largest consumers. Well established American Brand names of machine made tobacco products include Swisher Sweets, Black & Mild, Hav-A-Tampa, Dutch Masters, and Phillies.