The different countries in the world feature distinct cultures and histories, styles of government, many different languages, national suit systems and playing card patterns. Some of the older patterns are now archaic or extinct, whereas others are universal.
Spanish suited playing cards produced by B. P. Grimaud (Paris) for Algeria, around 1910.
It is assumed that playing cards had been introduced to the Americas with explorers such as Columbus or Cortés. Argentinian playing cards have followed Spanish styles, based on models imported from Spain.
Artex A/30 brand for Turkey, 1990s
Playing cards from Australia
Belgian cardmakers have been actively designing and exporting playing cards since the 14th century. The earliest documentary evidence about playing cards emanates from Belgium: accounts for money spent on playing cards; money lost whilst playing at cards, etc.
Playing card production in Brazil was officially sanctioned by royal decree in 1770. A royal decree in 1808 established in Brazil the Real Fábrica de Cartas de Jogar as a part of the Impressão Régia, a similar arrangement as that in Lisbon, for the printing of playing cards.
Naipes Chilenos ~ Early Chilean playing cards were based upon Spanish models.
The Chinese took their cards with them wherever they travelled and traded in the East, and we find Chinese cards in use not only in the mainland but also in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, North Borneo and Vietnam.
The Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918 from the former Austro-Hungarian empire.
The earliest Danish playing card production monopoly was given in 1673 to Fridrich Jacobsen.
Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement. Estonia regained independence in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR and joined the European Union in 2004.
Some of the oldest cards still in existence come from France. Much of the early history of cards in France is to do with standard designs and their spread, coupled with a keen sense of economic advantage.
Galapagos Islands Souvenir Playing Cards, awakening the voice of nature and teaching us about the environment, endangered species and ecology...
Ancient Greece was the birthplace and cradle of European civilisation
Playing Cards from Hong Kong. A large proportion of the world's souvenir and pin-up playing cards originate from Hong Kong.
Representing Iranian culture and history and intended for a Persian market, these playing cards were designed by V. Romanowski de Boncza, ordered by the Iranian government playing card monopoly at the time and printed by Thomas De la Rue & Co., Ltd, c.1937.
During the nineteenth century playing cards were being produced in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
The first reliable evidence that playing cards were being used in Italy is from 1376, when a game called 'naibbe' is forbidden in a decree, with the implication that the game had only recently been introduced there.
In general terms, Japanese playing cards are of two types: 'Awase' or 'matching pairs' cards and Portuguese or Spanish-derived 'Dragon' type cards. These have dragons on the aces and are believed to have originated in Spain, Italy or Portugal.
“Kenya Tribus” playing cards published by Sapra, Mount Kenya Sundries Ltd, Nairobi, 1991
The game of Hanafunda was introduced into Korea by the Japanese and modified somewhat by the Koreans.
Playing cards had been introduced to the Americas with explorers such as Columbus or Cortés, whose fellow countrymen were keen gamblers. Cards were imported from Spain since the 16th century. Local production usually imitated Spanish cards.
The best Latvian playing cards were produced just after independence, during the period 1921-1942. Enrst Plates A.S. of Riga was a well-known manufacturer.
During the 20th century Lithuanian printers produced striking playing cards containing Lithuanian symbols and national heroes.
The so-called ‘Dragon Cards’, with winged monsters on the four Aces, are an enigmatic aspect of early playing card history.
MEXICO shares a long tradition with Spain in the field of playing cards.
Mongolian Playing Cards
Playing cards have been known in the Low Countries since the 14th century
Poland has been involved in playing card production since the 15th century.
Spain has played a pivotal role in the history of playing cards in Europe and Latin America. Early documentary sources refer to games of cards in merchants' inventories, to various card-makers and to prohibitions of card games, mostly around Barcelona and Valencia, in the late 1300s and early 1400s.
Swedish cards have characteristics in common with their Scandinavian neighbours
The Swiss national suit system of shields, acorns, hawk bells and flowers emerged sometime during the XV century
The Portuguese were the first Westerners to trade with Ayutthaya in Thailand in the 16th century. Thus European playing cards would have been used alongside any locally produced cards and hybrid varieties would have evolved. Traders also arrived from India, Japan, the Arab world, England, Holland as well as France and often they had their own quarters or village communities. The cultural heritage resulting from the presence of foreign cultures in Thailand still exists nowadays
Most of the early North American Colonists were British subjects who depended on playing cards imported from England. The manufacture of playing cards in America only began during the second half of the 18th century, and not before 1776 by some estimates.
Playing cards first arrived in England during the 15th century, but none have survived from such an early date.
There doesn't appear to be a very prolific history of playing cards in Wales.