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Hemp History CE

1700 - 1800: Russia becomes the largest producer of hemp

Czar Peter the Great on board of his yacht en route to the Pieter en Paul.At the end of the 17th century Czar Peter came to power in Russia, he was determined to modernise Russia, which was still an archaic, isolated backwater which had missed out on the European Renaissance.

The Dutch Republic was the leading European power, and Czar Peter tought of it as the perfect model for Russia. He made several trips to Western Europe to learn about culture and science.

In Amsterdam Czar Peter  worked at the Dutch East India Company shipyard and helped build a ship. There he learned the importance of hemp in the shipbuilding proces.  In 1698, the ship on which the tsar had worked, the Pieter en Paul was launched.[1] Next to shipbuilding the czar also learned about watch-making, making coffins, etchings, post-mortems, paper making and silk spinning.

1776: Clothes for Washington's troops are sewn from hemp fabric

Washington at Valley ForgeDuring the American Revolutionary War which started in 1775,  thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America.

In 1776 Patriot wives and mothers were organizing spinning bees to clothe Washington's troops, spinning the majority of the  thread from hemp fibers. Without hemp, the Continental Army would have frozen to death at Valley Forge.[1]

At the same time Common Sense was written by Thomas Paine. The pamflet was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776. In his pamflet he encourages the colonist to fight for freedom. He lists cordage, iron, timber and tar as America's four essential natural resources and he writes “in almost every article of defense we abound. Hemp flourishes even to rankness, so that we need not want cordage".