Tobacco.docx - In accordance with Iain Gately Tobacco's...

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In accordance with Iain Gately, Tobacco's genus, Nicotiana, has sixty-four species. Out of all of these species mainly two are consumed by humans. These are Nicotiana Tabacum and Nicotiana Rustica. Both of these species are native to the Americas, and were discovered about 18,000 years ago. The first inhabitants of the Americas didn’t know tobacco and did not consume it. These first inhabitants were of Asiatic origin and after crossing the Bering Strait land bridge, they spread south throughout the continent. They lived nomadically in areas that had similar fauna and terrain as the one they left behind. Nomads and settlers had an ancestral knowledge about herbs, which they increased with every plant they ran into. Tobacco was one of those. It was also one of the least remarkable findings in comparison with the everyday consumables they encountered such as: potatoes, tomatoes, rubber, chocolate, and maize (Gately, 2). Plant geneticists have established that Tobacco was first cultivated in in the Peruvian/Ecuadorian Andes between 5000-3000 BC . Tobacco use then spread up north and by the time Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 it had spread throughout the entire continent, including islands such as Cuba (Gately, 3). There are three important things that need to be taken into account at the time of cultivating tobacco, these being the soil, the climate, and the experience in handling. Although tobacco will grow almost everywhere, the soil gives it a special flavor and quality. Tobacco does grow best in tropical or semitropical environments. Climate and soil make the different varieties of tobacco (Shelfer, 129-134). Smoking was only one of the habits of South America. Tobacco was used for many different reasons and in many different ways. Tobacco was sniffed, chewed, eaten, drunk, smeared onto the body, used in eyedrops and enemas, and of course, smoked. It was blown into the face of warriors prior to battle, it was blown onto fields before planting and over women before sex, it
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was offered to gods, and received as a gift, additionally it served as a simple narcotic for men and women (Gately, 4-5). Both Tobacco and the American continent were discovered accidentally. From about 1419 onwards, The Europeans began to make long voyages. The Portuguese led in that field. By 1488 they had explored the west coast of Africa as far as Cape Town. The reason for these voyages was China, a semi-mythical country that possessed porcelain, silk, pearls, and spices. Europeans became obsessed with discovering China (Gately, 20).
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