Who made the first hammock?
During his 1492 voyage, Columbus found “wonderful arrangements of nets” in the homes of native peoples in modern-day Cuba. This marks the earliest known appearance of the hammock in our written record.
|Reconstruction of the Cuban homes where Columbus may have found the “first” hammock.|
On other Caribbean Islands, Central America, and modern-day Brazil, European explorers continued to find native peoples using hammocks. Dozens of native tribes encountered by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers apparently used them.
“Those that have the most plentiful Estate or Fortunes, the better sort, use Net-work, knotted at the four corners in lieu of Beds, which the Inhabitants of the Island of Hispaniola, in their own proper Idiom, term Hammacks.”
|Hammock Illustration first published by Oviedo y Valdes in 1526.|
Hammock use among native Brazilian tribes appears to have been more widespread, suggesting that in mainland South America, almost everyone very likely owned a hammock and slept in it every night. These hammocks’ closest modern relatives are located here.(The hammocks on that page without spreader bars are probably the closest designs to more widely used, economical Brazilian hammocks.)