Tobacco is a native plant of South America that has ties to all indigenous cultures, from the Mayans and Aztecs to the Caribbean aborigines. In one way or another, tobacco has been the inseparable companion of our indigenous cultures from the remote times of its discovery up to the present day.

The Spanish introduced tobacco in Europe, where the pleasure of smoking became widely popular in spite of the prohibitions issued by King Phillip II, who decreed the burning of tobacco plants. Other prohibitions were instituted in Japan, Persia, and Turkey. Nonetheless, the medicinal uses of tobacco became popular and spread throughout Europe, as well as the powers of tobacco smoke. Ground tobacco was used in cooking and in other ways, including headache relief.

On October 12, 1693, the Spanish conquistadors founded what would become the city of San Carlos y San Severino in the province of Matanzas in Cuba. The nearby mouth of the Canímar River was the settlement of peaceful Cuban natives, as well as the location of the legendary Canimao plantations. It was there that the tradition and cultivation of some of the best tobacco in the world began: Cuban tobacco.


The Legend:
According to legend, Canimao was a great Indian warrior who fell in love with a beautiful Indian woman named Cibayara, the daughter of Cacique [or “Chief”] Baguanao. One day, Cibayara was inexplicably unable to rise from her hammock, her body burning with fever and delirium. After three days, Cacique Baguanao sent Canimao to find Macaori, a folk healer living on the banks of the Jibacabuya River, to cure Cibayara.

When Canimao arrived at Macaori’s hut, Macaori told him that the beautiful Cibayara would be cured and would become his wife, and that she would give him a son. In exchange, the Bat God would exact a high price from Canimao. Canimao swore before the clay image of the Bat God that he would give his life for the health of his beloved. Macaori then healed Cibayara by order of the Bat God. Canimao and Cibayara were married and, three months later, Cibayara was pregnant with the son of her beloved.

One day, Canimao left his hut without saying goodbye, took his canoe, and rowed to the center of the Jibacabuya River. With his own untrembling hands, Canimao cut open his chest with his dagger and fell into the river. Months later, Cibayara bore a son. The two would take offerings together to the Jibacabuya River, which became known as the Canimao.

WARNING: Purchase of tobacco products by people under the age of 18 violates federal and state law.
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING:Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And Many Complicate Pregnancy.