Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hemp Mannn...

After reading the blog below about drug use in Russia, I recalled some pretty interesting information I once read about Russia’s history with hemp. Interestingly, Russia once ran on the production and exportation of Cannabis products. Hemp was Russia’s number one trading product in the 1700s-ahead of its fur, timber and iron. In fact, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, most of the world depended on products made from hemp! Recently, hemp has been associated with marijuana and people have forgotten what a valuable resource it can be and how important it once was for many countries, including America. Hemp is the most resilient, long-lasting natural fiber, and Russia used to supply most of the world with well-made hemp products.

One of Russia’s best customers was Britain. Britain purchased 90% of its marine hemp from Russia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and relied heavily on Russian hemp products to promote strong naval forces. Now, think back to what you learned in grade school about the War of 1812. You probably don’t remember hearing much about hemp but some insist it was a key factor! Napoleon, eager to infringe on Britain’s naval forces, sought to cut off trade from Russia to Britain and its allies. So, with the help of Czar Alexander of Russia, the Treaty of Tilset was signed in 1807. This hurt Britain; they needed hemp from Russia to continue to dominate the sea. Eventually, Britain found a loophole and started receiving Russian hemp through American traders who had access to Russian hemp. Napoleon caught on. He demanded Czar Alexander stop trade with America or let French troops patrol the trade stations. The Czar said no, and Napoleon invades Russia! To learn about this take on history, in depth, check out Chapter 11 of the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer.

1 comment:

Dr. Michael A. Denner said...

so, alexander was a drug czar, huh? fascinating... i did not know that russia was a big hemp producer. excellent.