Hammocks originated in Latin America, where the Maya people produced the first hammocks over 1,000 years ago.
In South and Central America, the hammock became a common sleeping and resting place for indigenous peoples, simultaneously protecting its user against venomous and wild animals as well as against filth and moisture. The hammock could also be used as a fishing net.
After rediscovering America at the end of the 15th century, Columbus described how the people he encountered there slept in hammocks hanging between two trees. At this time, the hammock was already in widespread use throughout Latin America.
Columbus introduced the hammock to Europe, where it became especially popular for use aboard ships.
The hammock had multifaceted advantages compared to the hard seaman's bunks, which took up more space and often harboured vermin. Using hammocks also meant that sailors no longer slipped from their beds on rough seas and the balancing effect of hammocks prevented seasickness.
At the beginning of the 19th century, hammocks were still largely unknown in North America. The first narrow spreader-bar hammocks aroused hardly any interest at all. But when the lying surface of the spreader-bar hammock was made larger, its popularity grew.
Even today hammocks are used for sleeping in many parts of South America. In other parts of the world, the hammock is used for leisure in homes and gardens. More than 100 million people use a hammock regularly for relaxation and sleeping.