History of Snus
According to archaeological discoveries, the use of tobacco dates to around the first centuryB.C. when the Mayas, a highly cultured people in Central America, smoked the tobacco leaf in sacred and religious ceremonies. Between 470 and 630 A.D. some of the Mayas began tomove as far as the Mississippi Valley. The Toltecs, who created the mighty Aztec Empire, borrowed the smoking custom from the Mayas who remained behind. Two castes of smokersemerged among them. Those in the Court of Montezuma, who mingled tobacco with the resinof other leaves and smoked pipes with great ceremony after their evening meal; and the lesser Indians, who rolled tobacco leaves together to form a crude cigar.The Mayas who settled in the Mississippi Valley spread their custom to the neighbouringtribes. Theses tribes adapted tobacco smoking to their religion and begun to believe that their god, almighty Manitou revealed himself in the rising smoke. The Arawak Indians of theAmazon adapted tobacco to their religious rituals.In 1492, while Christopher Columbus was exploring West Indies, he observed the Indiansrolling leaves to form a cylinder, then lighting one end and inhaling the smoke from the other.As a friendly gesture, the Arawak Indians presented him with a gift of the aromatic leavesthey prized so highly.In 1943 Ramon Pan, a monk who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage, gave lengthydescriptions about the custom of taking snuff. He also described how the Indians inhaledsmoke through a Y-shaped tube. Inserting the two ends at the top of the tube into their nostrils,they placed the other end in the smoke rising from the burning leaves. The word "tobacco"was used to refer not to the herb, but to the tube through which the smoke was inhaled.In 1499, the explorer Amerigo Vespucci noticed that the American Indians had a curious habitof chewing green leaves mixed with a white powder. They carried two gourds around their necks -- one filled with leaves, the other with powder. First, they put leaves in their mouths.Then, after dampening a small stick with saliva, they dipped it in the powder and mixed the powder with the leaves in their mouths, making a kind of chewing tobacco.Jacques Cartier, on his second voyage to Canada in 1535, noted that he had seen the Indianssmoking pipes. "In Hochelaga, at the head of the river in Canada, grows a certain herb whichis stocked in large quantities by the natives during the summer season, and on which they setgreat value. Men alone use it, and after drying it in the sun, they carry it around their neck wrapped up in the skin of a small animal, like a sac, with a hollow piece of stone or wood.When the spirit moves them, they pulverize this herb and place it at one end, lighting it with afire brand, and draw on the other end so long that they fill their bodies with smoke until itcomes out of their mouth and nostrils as from a chimney. They claim it keeps them warm andin good health. They never travel without this herb."The newly arrived tobacco in Europe was treated as medicine. Jean Nicot was the Frenchambassador to Portugal in the 1560s. When he returned to Paris, he brought tobacco with him.He cured Queen Catherine de Medici's chronic headaches with a powder made of tobaccoleaves. The French Court discovered snuff.