As we learn more and more about the plant that’s changing industries around the world, the interesting facts about hemp never cease to amaze us. We already know that this plant can feed us, clothe us, house us, and even heal us, but there’s more. It seems like this trend has only been around for the past couple of years, but, in fact, hemp was present throughout many eras of modern societies. In this article, you’ll learn some fascinating hemp history facts about how different civilizations related to this plant and its industrial, medicinal, and agricultural use.
#1 Hemp History Facts Dating Back to 26,900 B.C.
Hemp history facts are constantly being updated as new archaeological findings emerge. Currently, there is a lot of scientific proof that links the cultivation of hemp as early as dozens of thousands of years ago. In 1997, a piece of hemp rope was found in the area of Czechoslovakia, dating back to 26,900 B.C., making it the oldest object associated with cannabis.
Exciting facts about hemp fabric arose when a group of archaeologists found pieces of hemp cloth in the area of ancient Mesopotamia (currently Iraq and Iran), dating back to 8,000 B.C. These ancient societies likely harvested hemp for its textile fiber instead of cotton, but some historians believe that they also could have used cannabis widely to experience its psychoactive and medicinal effects.
#2 Ancient Egyptians Used Hemp For Medicinal Purposes
Ancient Egypt was using hemp for its medicinal purposes back in 2,000 B.C., as a treatment for pain, inflammation, cancer, glaucoma, as well as to ease depression. This evidence was discovered when scientists found the Ebers Papyrus in Egypt in the 1870s, an ancient medical textbook. Other interesting facts about hemp fabric include that it was retrieved from some of the famous pharaohs’ tombs.
The use of cannabis plants was regular in ancient Egypt for medicinal, religious, and recreational reasons, as well as in the production of ropes and fabric. Hemp seed oil was also used as a unique remedy. It was utilized to fight skin inflammation, considered tonic and regenerative. The laxative and diuretic effects would remove roundworms in newborns and animals.
#3 Hemp Was Used On The Construction Of The Great Pyramids
Similar to what today is known as hempcrete, hemp was used soaked in water in the structure of the great pyramids and other massive constructions between the giant rocks and inside its cracks. Hemp clothes and ropes were also used to transport the massive pieces of rocks used in the pyramids’ structure.
#4 Important Documents And Paintings Were Done Over Hemp
Hemp paper and hemp fabric are tightly connected to the history of our societies. Evidence dated from over 2,000 B.C. shows that China was the pioneer in using hemp fiber to create paper. Some of the most valuable documents in human history were written and signed on hemp paper, like the United States Declaration of Independence, written in 1776 and the Magna Carta written by King John of England in 1215. Famous paintings of renowned artists were made on hemp canvas, such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gainsborough, and others.
#5 Societies Not Only Loved Growing Hemp; Some Places Made It Mandatory
In the 16th century, hemp farming was vital to England and its colonies. The reign of Henry VIII was considered a golden age for hemp, as in the year of 1533, he passed a law requiring farmers to grow ¼ acre of hemp for every 60 acres that they owned. And there was a hefty fine of almost half a year’s wage for the farmer who disobeyed the law. The goal of this rule was to produce more naval equipment such as ropes, sails, nets, and others.
In the U.S., farmers were required to grow hemp, and refusing to do so was against the law during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as it was considered an act of patriotism. Until the early 20th century, hemp was the largest crop in the U.S., and in the 1950s, there were over 8,000 hemp farms. After the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970, all cannabis cultivation was considered illegal, including hemp, which only recently changed thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
#6 Ford Built A Prototype Car With Hemp That Ran With Hemp Fuel
The idea of hemp being able to help the environment isn’t totally new, as, in 1941, Henry Ford built a soybean car prototype with a plastic material derived from plants such as soybeans, corn, wheat, and hemp. This prototype was also designed to run on hemp fuel, as Ford’s goal was to integrate the car industry with agriculture.
The bioplastic material would be used to replace metals because World War II created a shortage of such material. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned after the war ended, as all auto production was suspended, and the U.S. directed its energy towards recovering the country. Although this idea originally had no environmental pretentions, it could be an enormously positive concept nowadays.
#7 Hemp Can Be An Alternative To Trees For Paper
The facts mentioned above bring the point that hemp can replace metals and fuels as a more environmentally friendly option that could integrate industries and farmers. This reality could happen in the manufacturing of paper, replacing trees with hemp. It is known that one hectare of hemp (10,000 m2) can produce as much paper in 4 months as up to 4 hectares of trees in 20 years because the hemp stem reaches maturity faster. Another great benefit of using hemp is that the hemp paper can be recycled several times.
We hope that these interesting facts about hemp sparked your interest in the exciting possibilities of this ancient plant.