Among the many discoveries that Columbus made during his four voyages to the New World is that of tobacco. He is credited with introducing the tobacco plant to Europe, which set in motion a series of events that culminated in the tobacco industry we see today.
On the day of his landing in the New World, Columbus became the first European to encounter tobacco, which the natives gave him as a gift at their first meeting. Columbus had no idea what to do with the strange dried leaves and ended up throwing them overboard a few days later. Eventually, however, Columbus and his men learned the habit of smoking tobacco from the Indians and took it back with them to Europe. This marked the beginning of tobacco’s critical role in American history.