Hemp is one of the oldest and most versatile, cultivated plants known to humanity. It has been an economically important deliverer of fibres, food and medicine for more than six thousand years. Hemp was grown in almost all European and Asian countries and posed an important , if not maybe the most important raw material for making ropes, canvas, textiles for clothes, paper and oil products. The historic significance of hemp as a raw material is also based on it’s usage as a technical textile. In this area, hanf has written history repeatedly.
In China just about 2.800 B.C, the first rope in the world was twisted out of hemp fibres and at the same time, the first paper was created out of hemp. There are indications that in the 28th century B.C.
The decline of the German and European hemp industry began in the 18th century and continued well ‘till the end of the 20th century, at which time, hemp became nearly insignificant – only recently, interest in hemp has revived strongly. Reasons for the downfall: because of the cotton spinnery industrialisation, cotton commenced a victorious, worldwide conquest. The strong reduction of sailing then hit the hemp industry additionally. After the middle of the 19th century, when making pulp out of wood was invented, hemp then lost its significance for the paper industry. Finally, the European hemp fibers were pressured by imported fibers e.g. jute, sisal, abaca and hemp from
At the same time, because of the marijuana prohibition, commercial hemp was put under pressure: in many countries hemp, regardless if commercial or drug hemp, was prohibited and remains partially forbidden today. Only since the 90ties, the prohibition for commercial hemp was lifted in many countries and those new areas of use became popular, where hemp fibres for technical, ecological and economical reasons, could capture new markets. Hemp seed was also rediscovered in the 90ties and new products such as hulled hemp seed were subsequently developed.
First traces of usage in Asia, cannabis sativa’s botanical home.
Earliest finding of cannabis seed in the area of modern day Germany. (Eisenberg/Thuebingen)
Proof of hemp usage in, amongst other areas, modern Thuringia and
Work with hemp fibres is discovered in |
First written mentioning of hemp as medicine.
The Egyptians record descriptions of hemp on temple walls. The Assyrians mention hemp for the first time in their writings, they call it "Qunnu-Bum" (spicy pipe plant), from which the Latins created the word cannabum, then cannabis.
King Solomon orders a huge amount of hemp rope for the temple construction.
Phrygians leave cloths out of hemp fibres behind in their burials mounds.
The Skythians, who were fond of travel, provided hemp’s wide spreading.
Discriptions of hemp in cuniform writing on clay tablets in the Royal Library of the Assyrian King Assurbanipal.
Hemp seed as burial gift of the Germanic tribes and Celts.
Hemp cultivation begins in |
Because of sailing’s growing significance, more hemp rope is constantly needed. Main european cultivation areas are Gaul and
Merowingian Kings are buried in hemp garments. From
The first botanical diagrams of the hemp plant in the „Anicia Juliana“, Dioscorides Codes
Adelgunds garments, in which she was buried 565 A.D. in
Carl the Great ordains farmers to hemp cultivation. Taxes could also be paid in hemp seed.
Opening of the first paper mill in |
The hemp paper method reaches
Gutenberg prints a bible on hemp paper.
Henry VIII commands |
Hemp is regarded in the most part of
*George Washington, hemp farmer (and first president of the |
*Thomas Jefferson, American President and hemp grower.
The botanist Linnaeus classifies Cannabis Sativa.
The great hemp consumption causes a shortage of this all-purpose applicable, raw material. In the colony
|Hard blow for the hemp industry because of the dawn of the steam era. Less demand for hemp rope used for ships rigging.|
Begin of hemp industry in |
Hemp becomes |
|Invention of the cotton Egrenier-Machine causes the hemp industry a new setback|
With introduction of whale oil used as lamp oil, hemp oil gets more competition.
In the |
|Lamp oil out of cannabis is replaced increasingly by petroleum and kerosine.|
Mexican farmers begin hemp cultivation.
Hemp tincture belongs to the most frequent prescribed medicament in pharmacies.
During the war years in
Until 1937 approx. 80% of the worldwide used twines, ropes and thaws were made of hemp. Main producer between 1740 and 1940 is
Du Pont lets both the procedure for producing plastic from oil, as well as the sulphate/sulphite method for paper production out of wood, be patented. (these patents secures 80% of Du Ponts total revenue for the next 50 years).
The Du Pont method is more expensive and even more ecologically harmful than the hemp paper-procedure. The paper produced is even of lesser quality.
First hemp prohibition in
Du Pont, leading in hemp oil business, presents the nylon fibre.
The automobile pioneer Henry Ford presents his „Hempmobile“ to the media, a car that is manufactured out of hemp (hemp plastics for the car body, armatures, textile interior equipment.) and is driven with hemp.
Ford emphasises the more favourable CO2 balance in comparison to gasoline driven cars.
Europe: Because of the war, hemp cultivation is once more propagandised over all in |
The German Reich Nourishment Authority issues an elaborately designed instruction document (“The Funny Hemp Manual”) and the Swiss Ministry of Agriculture trys to motivate its citizens with the "Svensk Hampodling" broshure.
After the war, hemp cultivating receeds back into insignificance.
As european pioneer, HanfHaus GmbH is established and develops the first hemp products once again.
Subsequently, more HempHouses and hemp specialised stores emerge – making more hemp products available for consumers.
After a court case, hemp’s cultivation prohibition in
Hemp is cultivated and processed again on 2,800 hectars and HanfHaus brings the first local products (cooking oil, seeds) onto the market.
The HanfHaus GmbH files bankrupcy. The online-shop www.hanfhaus.de is continued (by Hempro Int.)
In the car industry, doing without press moulded parts and fibre composites e.g. such as door, interior lining, would be inconceivable.
After difficult hemp cultivation experiences in the initial years, German farmers interest is increasing and the total cultivation area in
Texts were compiled in cooperation with www.nova-institut.de (Authors: D. Kruse / M. Karus)