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red Bougainvillea

 History of the Bougainville Hammock

After leaving an illustrious career as a mathematician, Count Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) joined the French army and served in the Americas defending French interests, participating under the leadership of Montcalm in the fateful defense of the city of Quebec, which was ultimately decided on the plains of Abraham. Count de Bougainville
His New World adventures never diminished his passion for exploration, and he eventually became the first Frenchman to circumnavigate the globe (1766 to 1769), visiting many of the Polynesian islands and even having another, large island named after him. His renowned Description d’un voyage autour du monde contributed much to the then popular beliefs regarding the high moral character of the "noble sauvage" living in harmony with nature.
However, before that famous voyage he still served some years in the French navy and was sent to South America, where he established a French colony on the present-day Falkland Islands and spent some time exploring the South American coast.

Sisal Plants During one such exploration of coastal Brazil, the expedition’s botanist, Philibert Commerson, discovered the colourful vining plant which he named Bougainvillea in honour of the Count.
 Its bounteous beauty of cascading flowers has made the Bougainvillea a favorite plant in tropical gardens around the world, typifying the exuberant visual experience of the tropics.

On these coastal expeditions, the explorers also had the opportunity to confirm the central role hammocks still played in indigenous everyday life, just as the Portuguese explorers had observed more than two hundred and fifty years earlier.

"Like the Bougainvillea, the hammock is one of the most enduring gifts the Americas have made to the world. Hammocks had already been used for centuries by indigenous people in South and Central America as a hanging bed or carrying device, before they were discovered in the "New World" by Columbus, who then introduced them by name and concept to Europe. Just a few years after his discovery, Portuguese explorers in the early 1500’s found hammocks in use in Brazil, where the indigenous people taught them about hammock construction."

The Europeans adapted the original design to fit the tight confines of their sailing ships, making a narrow, less comfortable hammock that unfortunately to this day informs the design of many Western hammocks. When it became viable to give consideration to comfort, improvements could be made: The hammocks were once again made wider to accommodate a proper and comfortable sleeping posture, and sliding (“floating”) spreader bars were introduced at each end. The advantage of these spreaders was twofold: First, this design was more bed-like, and so prevented the hammock from enveloping the sleeper and leaving him trussed up. Second, by allowing the hammock’s harness ropes at each end to slide freely through evenly spaced holes in the spreader bars, stability was optimized and the essential comfort of the original hammock was restored.

Through circuitous dissemination over time, the knowledge of the hand-woven hammock was handed down and found its way back to the Canadian territories where to this day the hammock making craft is practiced, on the shores of the mighty St. Lawrence river in the heart of the Thousand Islands. There, durable, comfortable hammocks are now made with soft, braided spun polyester cord, the furthest evolutionary steps removed from the treebark and sisal originally used centuries ago.

In appreciation of two exceptional gifts from the "New World", we have brought them together again: the Bougainville name lives on in our hammocks, ever evoking the beauty and comfort of pure tropical relaxation.
Visit us at our workshop in the heart of the Thousand Islands, where experienced craftsmen still make each hammock entirely by hand.

  Open:
  Monday to Friday from 10 to 5;
  Saturday from 10 to 2.

  Summer Hours: 7 days a week, from 9 to 7.

About Us, and Directions to our Store      
For retail inquiries and further information on the above products, write, call, or e-mail us:

  USA: Box 836
  Fineview, NY 13640

  Canada: 41 Reynolds Road
  Lansdowne, ON K0E 1L0

  Call Toll Free: (877) 474 8864
  e-Mail : info@kingcord.com
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