Earliest History

8000 BC: In China, the earliest known fabric is woven from hemp for cloth.

4500 BC: China: Hemp is used for rope and fishnets.

4000 BC: China uses hemp foods.

2800 BC: China makes first rope from hemp fiber.

2700 BC: China: Hemp was used as fiber, oil, as a medicine, and found in Tombs.

1000 BC: Hemp is cultivated in India.

450 BC: Greek Herodus exclaims that “hemp garments are as fine as linen.” From Asia to Afghanistan to Egypt, hemp was widely cultivated for its fiber.

c. 400 BC: Buddha was nourished with hempseed.

100 BC: Chinese make paper (oldest surviving piece) from hemp and mulberry.

Europe (A.D.)

70: Hemp cultivated for the first time in England. By 400, hemp was a well-established crop.

500-1000: Hemp cultivation spreads throughout Europe.

600 Germans, Franks, Vikings, etc. make paper, sails, rope, etc. from Hemp.

6th century: A hemp-reinforced bridge is built in France. The bridge actually petrified and is still strong today.

716: Shoes are constructed from hemp.

850: Viking Ships used hemp for their sails, ropes, fishing nets, lines and caulking.

1000: Europe introduces hemp butter.

1000: The English word ‘Hempe’ first listed in a dictionary.

1150: Moslems use Hemp to start Europe’s first paper mill. Most paper is made from hemp for next 850 years.

Middle Ages: Knights drank hemp beer.

1215: Magna Charta was printed on Hemp paper.

14-15th Century: Renaissance artists committed their masterpieces to hemp canvas.

1456: Guttenberg Bible printed on hemp paper.

1492: Hemp sails and ropes make Columbus’s trip to America possible (other fibers would have decayed somewhere in mid-Atlantic).

1494: Hemp papermaking starts in England.

1537: Hemp receives the name Cannabis Sativa, the scientific name that stands today.

1535: Henry VIII passes an act stating that all landowners must sow 1/4 acre, or be fined.

1563: Queen Elizabeth I decrees that land owners with 60 acres or more must grow hemp or else face a £5 fine.

1564: King Philip of Spain follows lead of Queen Elizabeth and orders hemp to be grown throughout his Empire from modern-day Argentina to Oregon.

16th Century: Hemp has wide cultivation in Europe for its fiber and its seed, which was cooked with barley and other grains and eaten.

c. 1600: Galileo’s scientific observation notes written on hemp paper.

16th-18th Century: Hemp was a major fiber crop in Russia, Europe and North America. Ropes and sails were made of hemp because of its great strength and its resistance to rotting. Hemp’s other historical uses were of course paper (bibles, government documents, bank notes) and textiles (paper, canvas), but also paint, printing inks, varnishes, and building materials. Hemp was a major crop until the 1920’s, supplying the world with its main supply of food and fiber (80% of clothing was made from Hemp).

17th Century: Dutch Masters, such as Van Gogh and Rembrandt, painted on hemp canvas. In fact the word canvas derives from the word “cannabis”.

1807: Napoleon signs a