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  • Les actes du colloque Ο καπνός στην ιστορία : Οικονομικές, κοινωνικές και πολιτισμικές προσεγγίσεις [Le tabac dans l’histoire : approches économiques, sociales et culturelles] viennent de paraître sous forme électronique. Le tome contient une contribution de Kostis Gkotsinas, membre scientifique de l’École française d’Athènes, intitulée : « “ Το χασίς ή τον καπνόν ; ” Το δίλημμα κατά τα πρώτα χρόνια της ελληνικής καπνοκαλλιέργειας (1880-1920) » [« Le haschisch ou le tabac ? » Le dilemme pendant les premiers pas de la tabaculture grecque (1880-1920].

    The paper addresses the dilemma between tobacco and Indian hemp, faced by Greek agriculture, as well as by the Greek economy in general, at a turning point: during the late 19th and early 20th century, i.e. when the crisis of the raisin production sector rendered new cash crops necessary for the Treasury. Next to the already established tobacco plantations, Indian hemp cultivation was introduced into Greece in the 1870s and by the beginning of the 20th century it was well-established in Arcadia. Although the two products co-existed for several decades, tobacco cultivation and production ultimately prevailed over cannabis, especially after the annexation of tobacco-producing provinces in Macedonia and the arrival of refugees from Asia Minor in the 1920s, who were employed in large numbers as field and factory workers in the tobacco industry. While Indian hemp constituted a considerable source of revenue for the hashish-yielding provinces, during the negotiations for the conclusion of Greco-Egyptian treaties (1884, 1895, 1906), the Greek side was asked to prohibit the production of Indian hemp in exchange for reduced import duties for Greek tobaccos. Under the pressure of both tobacco and hashish growers, through demonstrations, resolutions and parliamentary interventions, the Greek State attempted to strike a balance, by taxing Indian hemp and banning its export to Egypt. After this first measure, hashish production suffered a second blow during the First World War, when growers turned to cereal cultivation to cover the population’s nutritional needs. The final blow to hashish was dealt in 1920, when Indian hemp cultivation was banned, while tobacco production was taking off, to conquer the lion’s share in the export trade during the Interwar years.




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