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History of hammocks

The history of hammocks began almost 1000 years ago. Hammocks have a rich and interesting heritage across the Pan-American continent. As this ancient mini hammock made of pure gold shows (exhibited at the Gold Museum in Bogotá, Colombia), the origins of today’s hammock are found in the indigenous cultures of central and south America . Many hundreds of years ago, they worshipped hammocks as a “gift from the gods”

In most central American countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico and south American countries like Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador, the hammock used to be - and in very hot regions still is - used as the traditional place to sleep. It is assumed today that the origins of the hammock nearly 1000 years ago can be traced back the Mayan indigene population. Since then, hardly anything has changed in the manufacturing method of the hammock - proof for the extraordinary creativity and inspiration of this advanced culture. The Mayans are still considered the masters of this special manufacturing technique, a technique which is now used across the world. The earliest hammocks were woven from the bark of the so-called hammock tree. Later, the sisal plant replaced the bark as the material of choice because it was available in greater quantities and, moreover, its fibers were softer and more elastic than previous materials. Using cotton for hammock-weaving is a fairly recent development: it was adopted only over the last 60 years.

Because of the extensive trade routes between the nations of Central and South America, the hammock naturally found its way into the heart and home of millions of natives. Hammocks were soon being made from indigenous fabrics and materials which resulted in a multitude of styles. It was thanks to Columbus that hammocks found their way to Europe, and they were then especially used by French and British seamen as an alternative to the uncomfortable beds on board - this solution revolutionised the sleeping habits of the seamen! The hammock was apparently used by the European navies for over 300 years, but was of course fashioned from hard-wearing sailing cloth rather than the soft cotton used today.

Nowadays, hammocks are used and loved around the globe, not just for the obvious advantages for outdoor use by frequent travellers and inhabitants of hot climates but increasingly as a beautiful and comfortable accessory for home and garden.



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