Coffee Was The Reason Behind Revolutions And Revolutionary Ideas!
Who knew that the cup of coffee you’re enjoying today, without guilt, was treated like contraband a few hundred years ago?! Yes, I know, I was shocked too. So much so that coffee was actually banned, and many people were killed because they loved their coffee a little too much. Crazy world we live in, right? Well, this article is going to drop your jaw, because I’ll tell you what, we’re definitely lucky today to be able to drink coffee in public without worrying too much about our heads. I know, a bit dramatic, but that was the case years ago. Brace yourselves!
It was in the year 1555, under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent when the first coffeehouse was opened in the Ottoman Empire. Two merchants from Damascus were proud founders of this coffeehouse established in Tahtakale, Istanbul. Since most Muslims refused to socialize or gather in liquor shops and bars, coffeehouses became an instant hit among them and others who preferred sober debates and intelligent discussions to pointless talks and intoxication. But Sultan Murad IV, the then king, wasn’t very happy with the change and so in 1633, he passed a law that made drinking coffee a capital offense!
You see, Murad IV’s brother and uncle were both killed by janissaries who were known to frequent coffeehouses, or cafes. The insecure sultan was so dedicated to catching coffee lovers that he would often disguise himself as a commoner and mercilessly decapitate offenders with his sword without a second thought. But the love for coffee wasn’t happily accepted in Europe, either. It was in 1652 when Pasqua Rosée launched its first coffeehouse in London, but King Charles II wasn’t very happy about its launch because his father, Charles I, was decapitated during the English Civil War. Naturally, the king worried about people gathering in cafes to discuss politics and wage wars.
So on the 12th of June 1672, Charles II issued a decree that made political debates and discussions, in coffee houses, illegal. And so, to make sure people were following the rule, a network of spies were scattered in London coffee houses by Secretary of State Sir Joseph Williamson. Then in December 1675, Charles II ordered the closure of all coffee houses in London, but the ban lasted just 11 days. Coffeehouses started mushrooming in different places in England, and soon each coffeehouse became home to a specific clientele. For example, Fleet Street’s Grecian Coffee House was frequented by Isaac Newton, who once dissected a dolphin on one of their tables.
Meanwhile poets John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and writer Jonathan Swift often visited Will’s Coffee House. Exchange Alley’s Jonathan’s Coffee House was frequented by stockbrokers, who eventually founded London Stock Exchange. Lloyd’s Coffee House was frequented by sailors and merchants who came up with Lloyd’s of London insurance market! Coffeehouses were making the rounds, but not in Germany as on the 13th of September 1777, Frederick the Great decided to outlaw coffee in favor of beer! According to him, drinking coffee was despicable and that since he was raised eating beer-soup, people had to get used to beer so they and their generations could be brought up and nurtured with beer-soup!
It was in 1786, after the king’s death, that the coffee ban lifted and people in Germany were seen participating in healthy debates at coffeehouses. And just like that, it became a popular drink to consume!
How many days can you go without caffeine? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends!