The Rise and Fall of Hemp

Follow the Rise, the Fall and the Comeback on the time line bellow.
The various applications of hemp over the millennia.

Hemps origin is unclear but archaeological evidence can date hemp back 10,000 years to Taiwan. China uses hemp for ropes and fishingnets.

1000 BC 
Nomadic tribes spread the use of hemp via Persia, through the MiddleEast, Africa, Europe and India. The Romans use hemp throughout their Empire.

500 BC 
The writings of Confucius were transcribed on hemp paper.

The Year Dot
Early editions of the Bible are written on hemp paper

Middle Ages 
Wars are fought between France and England to keep open the hemp trade routes from Russia.

Hemp is used for sails; ropes, rigging and clothes on the sea going shipsof this period including those used by Columbus as he set out and”discovered” America. Hemp resin was used to seal the wooden hulls.

Hemp was so important in England during the reign of Elizabeth 1 that if you owned more than a certain area of land you were required by law to sow some of it with hemp. (Until recently a similar exercise under Elizabeth II may have seen you sharing Her Majesty’s pleasure!)
Some of the great masters, including Rembrandt and Van Gough, used hemp canvas and hemp based paints for their paintings.

The first draft of the American Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper and Betsy Ross sews the first American flag using hempcanvas.

Hemp canvas is used to cover the American pioneer’s wagons. 80% of all textiles for clothes, linens, rugs, quilts, sheets and towels in America are made from hemp.

New techniques allow paper to he manufactured from wood pulp. Man-made fibres are introduced, Du Pont patent their new “plastic” fibre.

Some US industrial interests (cotton and oil companies) lobby Congress to have the growing of hemp banned. Once hemp is banned the field is left open for cotton and man-made fibres.

With the World War II disrupting textile imports the USA government lifts the hemp ban. The US Army and Department of Agriculture release their “Hemp for Victory” campaign asking American farmers to grow hemp to service wartime needs.

The British government allow industrial hemp to be grown in the UK(under licence) for the first time in 70 years

The Body Shop launches a hemp cosmetics range.
Major car companies (including Ford and BMW) are researching and testing hemp products for incorporation in future car designs.

A growing awareness of environmental issues has seen the green and versatile hemp crop make a comeback.

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share