The 4th of July is right around the corner, and summer is in full swing. And that means long, lazy weekends, fireworks, splashing in the pool, or better yet, the lake or the ocean. Or maybe it’s just a quiet afternoon enjoying a backyard barbeque.
But with all those fun things going on, when it comes to America’s Birthday, we’re always reminded of the history of our great country. We all know the traditional tales. But what many of us don’t know is the important role hemp played in fashioning our Union.
I had the pleasure of visiting Cape Cod earlier this year, where the Pilgrims first landed. Being a history buff, I took advantage of the many historical attractions and museums. I was surprised that one of the things purported to be in the cargo of the Mayflower was hemp seeds.
What the earlier settlers soon discovered was that native hemp, which they called Indian Hemp, abounded along the East Coast. But they also introduced the more refined Cannabis Sativa for much of their hemp production.
Britain, being a seafaring nation, needed a lot of hemp. Hemp was used for sails, ropes and riggings and even military uniforms. As a result Britain mandated that the Colonies grow hemp to help supply the need. In 1629, the first shipyard opened in the Massachusetts Colony, and the need for Colony-grown hemp grew even stronger. Hemp was extremely prized and actually used as legal tender in colonial times.
By the mid-1700’s, most of the hemp grown in the Colonies was used in the Colonies. Historians speculate that this dwindling of hemp supply shipped to Britain was one of the triggers that forced the British Parliament to begin issuing the taxes and restrictions that ultimately led to the American Revolution.
While on my trip to out East, I had the pleasure of attending a performance by 2 very talented musicians who dressed in late 18th Century garb, and performed music popular at the time. Entertainers extraordinaire, one of them showed how Betsy Ross, long credited with sewing the first US flag (though some historians doubt the validity) contributed her verifiable addition to the flag…the 5 pointed star. But was perhaps the most inspiring to me was the fabric Betsy Ross’s 5 pointed stars were affixed to on the very first “Old Glory”. You guessed it. HEMP!
So from all of us at Imbue Botanicals, we wish you a very Happy and Safe 4th of July!
with all our best,