The history of cigars dates back several centuries, and the precise origins are somewhat debated. However, it is widely believed that the indigenous people of the Caribbean, particularly the Taíno people of Cuba and the Arawak people of Hispaniola (present-day Dominican Republic and Haiti), were the first to cultivate and smoke tobacco. They rolled tobacco leaves into primitive cigar-like forms and smoked them for various purposes, including rituals, religious ceremonies, and medicinal practices.
When Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas in 1492, he encountered the Taíno people and observed them smoking these rolled tobacco leaves. The Spanish explorers, including Columbus, brought tobacco and the concept of smoking back to Europe. Over time, cigar smoking gained popularity, particularly among the Spanish aristocracy.
The credit for the development of the modern cigar industry is often given to the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. In the early 16th century, Velázquez established the first permanent European settlement on the island of Cuba, called Baracoa. It is believed that he introduced the cultivation of tobacco in Cuba and played a significant role in the development of the Cuban cigar industry.
Since then, the production and refinement of cigars have evolved, with Cuba becoming renowned for its high-quality cigars. However, cigars are now produced in various countries around the world, including the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and others, each with its own unique cigar-making traditions and techniques.