Industrial hemp is a plant with a rich global history. The plant has served mankind, his household and nations from time immemorial. The plant is renown for its medicinal properties, nutritious seeds, and strong fiber.
The History of Hemp in Man’s Civilization
Hemp over the years has played a great role in the civilization of mankind and continues to do so to this day. The history of hemp dates back to BC, with early uses of hemp being recorded in human history worldwide. In the year 2727 BC, hemp was mentioned in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. It is also recorded that in the year 450 BC, Herodotus liked the kind of linen that was made from hemp by Scythians.
Further, the Chinese made the first paper with a combination of hemp and mulberry in the year 100 BC. In Great Britain, in the 16th Century, Henry VIII, supported the growth of hemp and was a great advocate of its growth to farmers. The fiber was needed for the British Naval fleet and construction of battleships and its other components.
Just as importantly, Charlemagne who was the King of Francs from the year 742 to 414 further encouraged farmers to grow hemp.
Hemp over the Years in USA
Hemp is a historical plant in the USA. In 1492, the sails and ropes which were on Christopher Columbus’ three ships were made from hemp. The ships were called the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria and they were seeking a direct sea route to Asia from Spain. South America began hemp farming in the year 1545. Hemp was grown since the arrival of the first settlers in the rest of USA which was in the early 17th Century.
Did you know that the declaration of American Independence was written on hemp paper? What’s more, the first American flag was made from hemp fiber. It is no surprise that some of the founding fathers of America advocated their citizens to grow hemp. They include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The first US President, George Washington was cultivating hemp and at the same time encouraging his citizens to do so. In 1794 he said “Take as much Indian hemp seed as possible and sow it everywhere.”
Hemp was considered a supercrop and at some point in the history of USA, farmers were ordered to grow Indian hemp by their government. The 1850 US census statistics indicate that about 2000 acres were under hemp growth by then.
Hemp Revolution Setback and Comeback
It is the association of hemp with marijuana and eventually its legal classification with the crop which closely resembles it stopped its revolution. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed and it became very expensive for farmers to grow hemp and that was the beginning of its decline.
But, now with the legalization of hemp growing, following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill the revolutionary plant hemp is back on course. What we must bear in mind is that hemp and marijuana are different, with hemp having negligible amounts of THC.