The History of the Cigar

The cigar is as synonymous across the world for relaxing at a side street café as it is for a toast to a great success. Across the world, men and women enjoy cigars for the most humble and extravagant of reasons. But what is the history behind the cigar? When did they come to be what they are today? We want to help you expand your knowledge on the stogie, as its history is just as fascinating as the little suckers themselves.

Tropical origins 

We all know that cigars are widely popular throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and it comes as no wonder, cigar tobacco is grown most in the region. The early origins of documented cigar tobacco being smoked came from when Christopher Columbus landed in Hispaniola, the island that is today the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Natives of the island presented he and his crew members with cigar tobacco that emitted an odour that fascinated the crew, and it soon became apparent that this crop was widespread throughout the Caribbean islands.

Columbus and his men noted that the natives smoked their own form of cigar, with tobacco rolled up in tropical leaves such as plantain or palm. They soon took this style of smoking back to Europe, where cigars became popular throughout Spain, Portugal, France, and Britain.


By the 19th century, cigar smoking was commonplace throughout the world, whereas cigarettes were still quite a limited rarity. Cigars soon became easier to manufacture, and crops and largescale factories began sprouting up throughout the Americas. With manufacturers such as the Spaniard Vicente Martinez Ybor moving his production to Tampa, Florida, to escape conflict in Cuba, cigars were becoming even more commonplace in society.

By 1905 there were roughly 80,000 cigar manufacturers in the United States, albeit most of them were miniscule, family-run businesses where cigars were rolled on the spot and sold for people on the go.

Modern times 

Today, the cigar crop is still thriving where it was originally grown, in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as other nations with warm, tropical climates. The prestige has grown for cigars, and connoisseurs look to ensure that the brand of cigar they smoke bears the label hecho a mano (made by hand) or totalmente a mano (totally by hand). provides high quality cigars and just as the history of the stogie is illustrious and widespread, so is our collection of fine cigars from throughout the world. View our collection and take a personal journey through the history of the rolled tobacco leaf.

Alexanders Cigar Merchants
517 Toorak Road
Toorak VIC 3142 Australia

Trading Hours
Monday to Friday - 10.00am to 6.00pm
Saturday - 10.00am to 5.00pm