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by Erowid
5000 BCE Evidence of coca chewing by people in northwestern Peru. Archaeologists have found both chewed leaves and calcium-rich rocks that would have provided the lime that is used to this day in conjunction with coca chewing. Evidence suggests it was produced as a community activity at about the same time as systematic farming was being developed in the region. 1   [More Info]
c. 3000 BCE Coca chewing is practiced throughout South America. Coca is believed to be a gift from God. 2  
905–1170 Ritual bundle found in a funerary site in SW Bolivia contains remnants of DMT, Harmine, Bufotenine, Cocaine, and possibly Psilocin, along with snuff tablets, a snuff tube, llama bone scrapers, and a head band. The find is notable because of the presence of a number of psychoactive chemicals, as well as the combined presence of DMT and Harmine. 3   [More Info]
15th Century Coca plantations are operated by Incas in Peru.   
1505 First hand accounts of coca use made their way back to Europe. Amerigo Vespucci (1505), G Frenandez de Oviedo (1535), and Nicholas Monardes (1565). 4  
Early 1500s Incan Coca plantations are taken over by holders of Spanish land grants. Spanish tax laws are revised to allow land owners to make their tax payments in coca leaves. 4  
1539 The Bishop of Cuzco tithes coca, taking 1/10 of the value of each crop in taxes.   
Mid 1500s Inca Empire. Pizarro invades and destroys the Inca Empire (1553); Coca production in Peru expands quickly causing a glut of leaf on the market which in turn precipitated a drop in the price of coca. Nicolas Monardes reports an increase in coca chewing particularly among lower classes of Andean Indians, as traditional controls disappear (1569). 4  
1574 Monardes' text on Coca is first translated into other European languages from Spanish; Latin (1574), Italian (1576), English (1577). 4  
c. 1575 Forced laborors working in the Spanish silver mines were kept well supplied with Coca leaves. Roughly 8% of the Europeans living in Peru were involved in the Coca trade. 4  
1580 Europe. Monardes brings coca leaves to Europe; unlike tobacco, it fails to generate interest or use, probably because most coca leaves lost their potency during the long voyage. 5  
1662 Abraham Cowley writes a poem titled "A Legend of Coca". This is the first independent mention of coca in English literature.   
1708 Coca is first mentioned in a materia medica, Institutiones Medicae, written by Dutch physician and botanist Herman Boerhaave.   
1835 First accurate drawing of Coca appears in popular English press. The illustration by Sir William Hooker, director of the Kew gardens, was published in Companion to the Botanical Magazine. 4   [More Info]
c. 1850 Coca tinctures used in throat surgery. 4  
c. 1855 Cocaine first extracted from Coca leaves. 4  
1859 Cocaine was first isolated as the active ingredient of the Coca plant by Albert Niemann of the University of Gottigen in Germany.   
1862 Merck produces 1/4 pound of cocaine. 4  
1863 Angelo Mariani patents a preparation of coca extract and Bordeaux wine called Vin Mariani. 6  
1869 Seeds from the commercial variety of Coca arrived at Kew Gardens.   
1870 Vin Mariani (Coca wine) is for sale throughout France, containing 6 mg cocaine per ounce of wine. Exported Vin Mariani contained 7.2 mg per ounce to compete with the higher cocaine content of American competitors. 4  
1870s Parke,Davis manufactures a fluid extract of coca. 4  
1876 - 1885 Race walkers in England chew Coca leaves to improve their performance. 4  
1883 Merck produces 3/4 pound of Cocaine. 4  
1883 German physician Theodor Aschenbrandt administered cocaine to members of the Bavarian army to enhanced their endurance on manoeurvres. Aschenbrandt's study published in a German medical journal would be read by young Viennese neurologist, Sigmund Freud.   
1884 Cocaine's use as a local anesthetic in eye surgery is popularized. 4  
1884 Freud publishes On Coca in which he recommends the use of cocaine to treat a variety of conditions including morphine addiction. 4  
1884 Merck produces 3,179 pounds of Cocaine. 4  
1886 Merck produces 158,352 pounds of Cocaine. 4  
1886 Coca-Cola is first introduced by John Pemberton, containing cocaine laced syrup and caffeine.    [More Info]
Late 1880s Parke,Davis starts to manufacture refined cocaine. 4  
1898 Richard Willstaetter first to synthesize cocaine. 7   [Details]
c. 1901 Coca-Cola removed Coca from their formula. 4  
1903 The expiration of a patent on the cocaine extraction process increases demand for coca. 6  
c. 1905 Snorting cocaine becomes popular. 4  
1906 Pure Food and Drug Act is passed, regulating the labelling of products containing Alcohol, Opiates, Cocaine, and Cannabis, among others. The law went into effect Jan 1, 1907 8   [Details]
1910 First cases of nasal damage from Cocaine snorting are written of in medical literature. 4  
1910 First cases of nasal damage from Cocaine snorting are seen in hospitals. 4  
1912 U.S. government publication reports 5,000 fatal poisonings in one year, mostly related to opium and cocaine. 9   [Details]
Dec 17, 1914 The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act is passed, regulating and imposing a tax upon the sale of Opium, Heroin and Cocaine for the first time. The Act took effect Mar 1, 1915. 2   [More Info]
Early 1930s Japan is the world's leading cocaine producer (23.3%) followed by the United States (21.3%), Germany (15%), U.K. (9.9%), France (8.3%). 4  
1920-1970 Cocaine use subsides in the U.S. One Bureau of Narcotics supervisor in New York City reported in 1940 that they "rarely hear of cocaine being used". 6  
Oct 27, 1970 The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is passed. Part II of this is the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) which defines a scheduling system for drugs. It places most of the known hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote, cannabis, & MDA) in Schedule I. It places coca, cocaine and injectable methamphetamine in Schedule II. Other amphetamines and stimulants, including non-injectable methamphetamine are placed in Schedule III.   
c. 1976 Freebase cocaine first developed (probably in California). It would soon be popularized by dealers and glamorized by Hollywood media.   
1981 Wholesale cost of 1 kg of cocaine is $55,000. 2  
1984 Wholesale cost of 1 kg cocaine is $25,000. 2  
Mid 1980's Freebase cocaine becomes popular.   
Dec 6, 2008 Entheogenesis Australis Symposium    [Details] [More Info]
Oct 28-29, 2010 Pratiques Contemporaines des Plantes Psychotropes [Contemporary Practices with Psychotropic Plants]    [Details] [More Info]

  1.   Dillehay TD, Rossen J, Ugent D, et al. "Early Holocene coca chewing in northern Peru". Antiquity. 2010;84(326):939-53.
  2.   Johanson CE. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs: Cocaine, A New Epidemic. Burke, 1992.
  3.   Miller M, Albarracin-Jordan J, et al. "Chemical evidence for the use of multiple psychotropic plants in a 1,000-year-old ritual bundle from South America". PNAS. May 6, 2019. [ Erowid Reference ]
  4.   Karch SB. A Brief History of Cocaine. CRC Press, 1998.
  5.   Austin G. "A Chronology of Psychoactive Substance Use".
  6.   Courtwright DT. Forces of Habit. Harvard U Press. 2001.
  7.   Humphrey AJ, O'Hagan D. Tropane alkaloid biosynthesis. A century old problem unresolved. Nat Prod Rep Oct 2001;18(5)494–502. PMID 11699882.
  8.   Pure Food and Drug Act. 1906.
  9.   Nahas G. Cocaine: The Great White Plague. Paul S Eriksson. 1989. 59.