Cohiba In Cuba in 1492 the Spanish expedition commanded by Christopher Columbus saw tobacco for the first time in the New World. The Taino Indians rolled and burnt some mysterious leaves, which they called Cohiba, in an unknown ceremony for the explorers. From that starting point more than five hundred years ago, tobacco has been traded and planted throughout the world. Since its discovery, Tabaco Negro Cubano or Cuban Black Tobacco has been considered the best in the world because of the unique growing conditions in some areas of the Island. This distinction remains incontestably valid after more than five centuries. With the nationalization of the Cuban tobacco industry along with other businesses after the Cuban Revolution, many cigar makers fled the island and began growing tobacco in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua, taking the brand names of their cigars with them. The Cuban industry contended that the brand names were the property of the nation, however, and parallel use of the same brand name resulted. Additionally, post-revolutionary trademark uncertainty and a US embargo against all Cuban goods made possible the relaunch of other Cuban brand names by private companies in other countries. The General Cigar Company, a private firm having no relation whatsoever to the Cuban cigar industry, first registered the name Cohiba in the United States in 1978 and subsequently began selling cigars under the Cohiba brand in that country in the 1980s. Manufacture and sales of General Cigar’s brand was significantly expanded during the 1990s cigar boom, with General Cigar’s product known colloquially as “Red Dot Cohiba,” owing to the red dot in the middle of the “O” in “Cohiba” on its bands and boxes.