The word “cigar’’ is believed to have come from “sikar,’’ the Mayan-Indian word for smoking.
Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba to find the natives smoking large, tube-shaped constructions of plant leaves filled with tobacco. He smartly took some back to Spain.
Israel Putnam, who would become a general in the Revolutionary War, brought cigars to his home in Connecticut from Cuba in 1762, launching the industry in the Connecticut Valley.
In 1880, 271 Massachusetts companies made more than 50 million cigars, according to the Tobacco Institute.
In 1975, Pink Floyd released the song “Have a Cigar,’’ a cynical ode to greedy record execs.
In 1983, Boston’s Ritz-Carlton held a black-tie cigar dinner. By 1994, more than 2,000 such evenings were reportedly held across the country.
In 1993, the European Journal of Cancer reported that the risk of dying from oral cancer is four to 10 times greater for cigar smokers than nonsmokers.
The most scandalous moment in cigar history: Monica Lewinsky testified in 1998that she and President Clinton once used a cigar for sex.
In 1996, Demi Moore held a smoking cigar on the cover of Cigar Aficionado magazine. The headline: “Demi Moore’s Secret Passion.’’
2006 The most expensive cigar in the world at the time came on the market. The Cohiba Behike ran $440 apiece and $18,860 for a box, if you could find one. Only 4,000 were made.
2009 A British tabloid quoted an unnamed source who claims hunky soccer star David Beckham enjoys pricey stogies. Bad news, given that Beckham has been photographed using an asthma inhaler.
2010 Alejandro Robaina, a legend in the Cuban cigar business, died last week at 91. He smoked cigars until the end, according to the Associated Press.