Playing cards can be found readily available all over the world and almost the entire population will know what they are and what they can be used for.
However, not everyone will be able to tell others about the history of playing cards, such as where they originated from and why they were actually created in the first place. Indeed, there will be a number of people who will just be delighted that they actually have them available, but surely it is also nice to know the backstory about them and why we have them in our possession today?
This article will look to divulge all of the information that we know about playing cards and their history, whilst trying to provide the reader with some new knowledge that could perhaps come in handy the next time a game that involves this wonderful component is played.
What is the history of playing cards?
Unfortunately, the history of playing cards is a long and complicated one. There are many different theories about where they originated, and how they made their way to Europe. One thing is for sure though, playing cards have been around for centuries and have been used for many different purposes.
Some believe that playing cards originated in China, as early as the ninth century. Others believe that they originated in Persia or Egypt. It is widely thought that the first deck of cards was created in Italy in the 1400s. The suits on these early decks were swords, cups, coins, and batons. These suits are still used in Italian and Spanish decks today.
Playing cards made their way to Europe in the late 1400s or early 1500s. It is not known for sure how they made their way over, but it is believed that either traders or Crusaders brought them back from the East. Cards quickly became very popular in Europe and were used for both gambling and entertainment purposes.
The renaissance period gave us the playing cards we have today
During the Renaissance, playing cards underwent a bit of a makeover. New suits were
added, including hearts, diamonds, clubs, and jokers. The court cards also changed during this time period. In most decks today, there are four suits with thirteen cards in each suit (ace through king). There are also two jokers in most decks.
Of course, these icons are now rather synonymous with games that feature playing cards, with both physical decks and those that appear when playing at an online casino all typically using the four suits that we have come to know and love.
Playing cards have been around for centuries and have undergone many changes throughout history. They are still popular today and are used for both gambling and entertainment purposes. Whether you are playing poker, blackjack, or just solitaire, you are taking part in a long and rich history.
Interesting facts regarding the history of playing cards
Given the fact that they are thought to be centuries old, it should not come as a surprise to learn that there are a number of interesting facts regarding playing cards and their history. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most interesting:
Did You Know: The oldest deck of playing cards in existence is from Italy and is dated back to 1430-1440! It is currently on display at the Museum of Ancient History in Turin.
Cards were originally hand-painted and very expensive. Only wealthy people could afford them.
The four suits we use today (hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs) are a relatively recent invention. In the 15th century, there were often as many as six suits in a deck!
The joker was also invented in the 15th century. It was originally known as the “best bower” and was the highest-ranking card in the deck.
The United States Playing Card Company is the largest manufacturer of playing cards in the world. They produce over 50 million decks of cards every year!
As you can see, the history of playing cards is a little complex compared to the history of other certain objects in the world, however, it is incredibly fascinating. Whether they originated in China or in Europe, the fact remains that they are centuries old and still remain as popular in the modern era, if not more so!