When would you guess the lottery was invented? 1960? 1890? Nope, it’s older than you may think.
Some people say it’s as old as the Bible, referencing the passage which instructs Moses to use a lottery to award land west of the river Jordan. In Chapter 26 of the Book of Numbers, Moses was told by God to assign the land by lot to the tribes of the Israelites.
The first known incidence of an actual lottery occurred in China during the Han Dynasty at around 200 B.C. The Emperor Cheung Leung used the lotteries to raise funds for taxes for building the Great Wall of China.
The first known European lottery happened during the Roman Empire but was mainly done as family entertainment at dinner parties.
Lottery with cash prizes were also held in Florence, Italy beginning about 1530. The French King liked this idea so much he ran a lottery to get his treasury out of debt.
Lotteries were also used to fund culture in Great Britain. In 1753 lotteries helped to build the British Museum.
Finally two interesting facts:
- The lottery first came to America in the 1700s
- The oldest continuous lottery in the world is the Netherlands Lottery, founded in 1726.
So if you are one of the millions of people around the world who buy lottery tickets each week, now you know who to thank for your visions of fortune!