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Christopher Columbus discovered America with Ships that used Hemp Sails

Christopher Columbus’s ships each carried over 80 tons of hemp rigging and sails.

An early American explorer in 1524 described the American natives as using “threads of wild hemp.” Christopher Columbus’s ships each carried over 80 tons of hemp rigging and hemp canvas sails.

Canvas is an extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, for “made of hemp,” originating from the Greek κάνναβις (cannabis).

Hemp fiber is two to three times as strong as jute or sisal. This makes hemp excellent for cordage, ropes and natural carpeting.  Because hemp is unaffected by salt water, it is excellent for fishing lines, fish nets, sail cloth and other items that are routinely exposed to damp weather.

An acre of hemp will produces two to three times as much fiber as cotton or flax.  Hemp was always preferred to cotton because of its far greater strength, absorbency and durability.  In 1840, John Baxter wrote that, “hemp will bleach whiter than flax or cotton, and make the finest fabric, from lace to cambric to good shirting, and far cheaper than either.” Cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop in America.  Hemp requires no pesticide spraying.

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