The History Of Bowling (Part 1)


Bowling has a long and rich history. Today, it is one of the most popular sports in the world. In fact, bowling is believed to be a game that existed almost 5000 years ago.

Sir Flinders Petrie, an antropologist, discovered a collection of objects in a child’s grave in Egypt in the 1930’s. It appeared like tools used in a crude form of bowling. If he was correct, then bowling traces back to 3200 BC.

William Pehle, a German historian, asserted that bowling began in his country at about 300 AD. It was a religious ceremony for determining the absence of sin. German parishioners had to roll an object at a pin or kegel (why bowlers are also called ‘keglers’) to avoid performing an act of penance. Those who managed to knock down the pins were considered of good character, while the others were not, and thus had to complete their penances.

There is also substantial evidence that a form of bowling was in vogue in England in 1366, when King Edward 111 allegedly outlawed it to keep his troops focused on archery practice. King Richard 11 also banned the game. However, it was evident that bowling was popular during the reigns of King Henry V111 and Sir Francis Drake.

Undoubtedly, the English, Dutch and German settlers all imported their own variations of bowling to America. The earliest mention of it in serious American literature is by Washington Irving, of Rip Van Winkle awakening to the sound of ‘crashing ninepins’.

The game had its ups and downs in America. An 1841Connecticut law made it illegal to maintain ‘any ninepin lanes’, probably because bowling became an object of gambling. The problem however, evidenced its popularity. Also, many captains of industry chose to install a lane in their mansions.

(Source of history taken primarily from the International Bowling Hall Of Fame and Museum).

Till my next post, have a fun-filled bowling day.

Jonathan 

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