The bong is undoubtedly the most popular and loved smoking device in our history of cannabis use.
The first written records of bong usage come from the 16th century Central Asia.
The Thai word "baung" is where we get the word "bong" today. This type of bong is specifically referred to as the bamboo bongs. These water pipes were ubiquitous throughout Central Asia.
Credit for photo 777bongs.com
The theory goes that the use of water in bongs was introduced during the Ming Dynasty in China. The practice was spread via the Silk Road trade network. One Chinese regent, Empress Dowager Cixi, was even found buried with her three prized bongs during the Qing Dynasty.
J.C. Dombrowski is credited with the discovery of the oldest bong-like invention containing cannabis residue, which was found in Africa.
These crude first bongs were made using lit coals placed in a bottle that was buried in the ground, and the cannabis was placed on top of the hot coals.
Credit for photo sfevergreen.com/
An underground duct that a considerable distance away from where the pipe lay below the ground lead to a mouth tube through which the smoke reached the mouth.
However, in Ethiopia, it was in a cave where the earliest known hand-held bongs were discovered between 1100 and 1400 CE.
Many of the 11 bongs found in the cave were created using repurposed pottery and animal horns. Some 2400 years ago in Russia, Scythians began gathering around the basic water pipes.
In an excavation of a Russian kurgan, a gold bong was discovered, providing evidence of Scythian tribal chiefs using bongs to smoke cannabis and opium.
Credit for photo: https://www.ancient-code.com/
In 1945, archaeologist Mary Leakey found a water pipe in Tanzania.
A tube connected the bowl on top to a lower water chamber at the bottom. The mouthpiece is placed on the curved neck of the gourd.
When she was discovered, experts took it for granted that Arab navigators brought marijuana and marijuana pipes to Africa in the mid-13th century. They concluded that these marijuana pipes must have evolved from Asian pipes. But the history of this version has never been meaningful.
The theory, however, ignores the fact that in Asian Islamic societies, cannabis was eaten rather than smoked, and the introduction of the water pipe wasn't until the early years of the seventeenth century.
Also, all archaeological evidence shows that Africans mainly chew and smell tobacco while mainly smoking marijuana. Another theory holds that marijuana can be adapted by straightening pipe and filtering it in water. This theory is also wrong because marijuana appeared earlier than tobacco in Africa.
Credit for photo: https://cannabuddy.co.za/
Simply put: Africans invented the bong to smoke cannabis.
As for its name, we are told it comes from the Thai word bong. But did Thais get this word from Africa or did it develop there independently?
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