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Early accounts describe natives snuffing tobacco through a tube with a bifurcated end they placed into their nostrils.
These tubes were an integral part of the magical ritual for many native groups of South America.
Aztec Tobacco Cultivation
Florentine Codex, Fray Bernardino de Sahagn
Aztec Offerings of Tobacco
Tobacco was the cement of Indians social life. Tobacco linked all the individual life of the Indian to that of his society. Tobacco was a sacramental method of communion that linked human beings to each other and to the divine power in bonds of peace and solidarity, like the sealing of an oath. Ortiz. The Cuban Counterpoint.
In the 1550s tobacco was still publicly denounced by
prominent historical figures as: foul vice, malodorous and vicious poison of the devil, suspicious and dangerous.
African American Slaves are among the first to incorporate the consumption of tobacco tobacco helped with their weariness.
Tobacco spread first among the lower ranks of the new settlers of the Indies rather among those of higher social standing.
Tobacco & Transculturation in the Americas19th Century.
The concept of transculturation proposed by Fernando Ortiz in his book, Cuban Counterpoint Tobacco and Sugar, aims at illustrating the moments of rupture and continuity in histories affected by colonialism and imperialism.
Fernando Ortiz defines a process that involves the loss or uprooting of a previous culture, which could be defined as a deculturation.
Transculturation of Tobacco
Taking tobacco was for the courtiers, highborn gentlemen and clergy of olden times in Europe a habit of great social distinction, like having little black slaves, monkeys, parrots, and macaws around them. Ortiz.
The cigarette was sponsored by the beggar soldier farmer and workingman; the cigar for the clergy, Indian chief, the man in power and the wealthier middleclass.
Tobacco use by this time would take a individual, hedonistic purpose that departed from the communal value given by Native Americans.
La Honradez Litographs 1850s