Sustainable Textiles for Seaside Living


Hemp in Sailing History

Makuu™ Community Blog

Unraveling Hemp’s Historic Voyage: Sailing Through the Ages

Hemp has played a pivotal role in shaping global trade and empire expansion, particularly in the realm of sailing. From outfitting entire navies with hemp sails and ropes to providing essential provisions like hemp seeds, this versatile material was a cornerstone of maritime endeavors.

Hemp: Powering Global Trade and Empires

Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage to the New World in 1492 was made possible by the sturdy and durable hemp sails that powered his ships. These sails not only enabled exploration but also facilitated the subsequent colonization of America, where hemp cultivation took root.

Sails and Ropes: Hemp’s Indispensable Role

During this era, hemp held immense significance in England, where the navy relied heavily on it for various maritime applications. So vital was hemp to England’s naval prowess that King Henry VIII enacted laws mandating hemp cultivation by farmers. This cultivation mandate not only sustained England’s naval strength but also left a lasting imprint on the country’s landscape and culture, as evidenced by place names like Hampshire, a testament to hemp’s enduring legacy.

5 Feb 2024
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