Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 January 2020
In contrast to sugarcane and coffee, tobacco is native to the Caribbean and its cultivation dates to pre-Columbian times. The plant was known among the Tainos who inhabited the major Caribbean islands as cogiba, whereas tabaco was the name of the pipe they used to smoke it. The church opposed the use of tobacco because it figured prominently in indigenous religious ceremonies, which were considered “idolatrous,” and accordingly prevented tobacco’s introduction in Spain until the middle of the sixteenth century. Exports of tobacco were first authorized in 1614 with the standard colonial monopolistic restriction that all transactions had to pass through Seville’s Casa de Contratación.