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Tobacco was widely diffused among all of the islands of the Caribbean and was therefore also encountered in Cuba where Columbus and his men had settled.His sailors reported that the Taínos on the island of Cuba smoked a primitive form of cigar, with twisted, dried tobacco leaves rolled in other leaves such as palm or plantain.In the early 20th century, Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous smoking poem, "The Betrothed." The cigar business was an important industry and factories employed many people before mechanized manufacturing of cigars became practical.Cigar workers in both Cuba and the US were active in labor strikes and disputes from early in the 19th century, and the rise of modern labor unions can be traced to the CMIU and other cigar worker unions.Around 1592, the Spanish galleon San Clemente brought 50 kilograms (110 lb) of tobacco seed to the Philippines over the Acapulco-Manila trade route.It was distributed among Roman Catholic missionaries, who found excellent climates and soils for growing high-quality tobacco there.In New York, cigars were made by rollers working in their own homes.

Boxes of hand-rolled cigars bear the phrase totalmente a mano (totally by hand) or hecho a mano (made by hand).Thousands of Cuban and Spanish tabaqueros came to the area from Key West, Cuba and New York to produce hundreds of millions of cigars annually.Local output peaked in 1929, when workers in Ybor City and West Tampa rolled over 500,000,000 "clear Havana" cigars, earning the town the nickname "Cigar Capital of the World".Smoking became familiar throughout Europe—in pipes in Britain—by the mid-16th century.In 1542, tobacco started to be grown commercially in North America, when the Spaniards established the first cigar factory on the island of Cuba.

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