Tobacco, a native plant of the Americas, was first discovered thousands of years ago
However, growing tobacco as a crop was pioneered by communities in the Andes at a much later time. Most estimates put this between 5000 and 3000 BC.
From the Andes of South America tobacco spread north and then on to the colonies, islands and continents beyond. With steadily increasing demand tobacco plants were transported for cultivation to countries all over the world.
The history of tobacco is more than just a history of its cultivation for chewing or smoking. It represents a fascinating journey through changing tastes and fashions, variations in cultural status and different stages of political and trading importance.