Hemp was the first plant to be domestically cultivated
Hemp is an ancient plant that has been cultivated for millennia. It's suggested that the weaving of hemp fibre began over 10,000 years ago. It's suggested that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 BC, with archaeologists having found remnant hemp cloth and rope dating back to this time period from ancient Mesopotamia.
Hemp is also believed to be the oldest example of human industry. In the Lu Shi, a Chinese work of the Sung dynasty, we find reference to the Emperor Shen Nung (28th century BC) who taught his people to cultivate hemp for cloth. The Chinese were also the first to recognise the usefulness of hemp in paper making – around 150 BC, they produced the world’s first paper, completely from hemp.
It is believed that hemp made it to Europe in approximately 1200 BC. From there, it spread throughout the ancient world.
China appears to have the longest continuous history of hemp cultivation (over 6000 years). France has cultivated hemp for at least 700 years to the present day, and Spain, Chile and Russia similarly.
Many civilisations throughout time have grown hemp and utilised the plant for fibre, food and medicine. Hemp has been one of the most significant crops for mankind up until this last century. The failed 'war on drugs' almost wiped out hemp on a global scale but people are quickly rediscovering its versatility and widespread uses. Returning to our plant-based roots has been a significant step in honouring past traditions of civilisations that lived in better balance with the planet.