Playing Cards from Around the World
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.
Playing cards were introduced to the Americas with Spanish explorers such as Columbus or Cortés.
Belgian cardmakers have been actively designing and exporting playing cards since the 14th century.
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.
Estonia's first period of independence lasted 22 years, beginning in 1918, and this period was one of great cultural advancement.
Card-playing rapidly became popular in medieval Bavaria and German printers were quick to supply the goods.
The earliest mention of playing-cards in Denmark dates from 1487 when King Hans, who reigned from 1481-1513 and was notorious for his gambling, again and again drew money from the treasury to pay for his losses.
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.
Japanese playing cards include: 'Awase' or 'matching pairs' cards and Portuguese or Spanish-derived 'Dragon' type cards.
The game of Hanafunda was introduced into Korea by the Japanese and modified somewhat by the Koreans.
The best Latvian playing cards were produced just after independence, during the period 1921-1942.
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.
Playing cards have been travelling from Spain to South American colonies ever since Christopher Columbus.
Playing cards from Finland. Finnish cards have a relatively short history, presumably because the country only finally broke loose from Russian influence in 1920.
MEXICO shares a long tradition with Spain in the field of playing cards. The Estanco de Naipes (playing-card monopoly) was established in 1576.
The earliest literary references to playing cards in Europe refer to the game having been introduced by a 'Saracen', and also to Moorish and Damascene varieties of playing card.
Whereas the distinctiveness of Wales is an important resource contributing to the rich texture of variety which characterises the island of Britain, to date no Welsh playing cards cards have been found which were actually manufactured in Wales.
The Real Fábrica de Cartas de Jogar was founded in 1769, by Royal Charter of King José, under the master craftsman Lorenzo Solezio, brother of Félix Solesio who ran the Spanish Real Fábrica at Macharaviaya.
Spain has played a pivotal role in the history of playing cards in Europe and Latin America.
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. Traders also arrived from India, Japan, the Arab world, England, Holland and France.
Trinidad and Tobago comprises a unique mix of races and cultures that can be traced back to Africa, India, Europe, the Middle East, China and native American Indians.
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.