- Historical event:
- 29 March 1886
- At the time Coca-Cola was first made, alcohol was prohibited by law, but cocaine was not. So Coca-Cola became a soft drink with added cocaine.
Coca-Cola was invented by John Pemberton, a pharmacist from the U.S. State of Georgia.
In the American Civil War, he fought as a soldier on the side of the Confederacy. After he was wounded, he receiving morphine for the pain and developed a dependence on it, like a large number of war veterans.
After the war, he sought a substitute for morphine, so he developed a drink sold under the name “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca”. It consisted of alcohol in which coca leaves were soaked to release cocaine, kola nut as a source of caffeine, and damiana plant, which allegedly cured impotency.
Pemberton recommend his beverage particularly for intellectual workers, which were flocking to the expanding cities at the time.
However, when the local authorities in Atlanta introduced a ban on the use of alcohol (the forerunner of Prohibition) Pemberton had to make a new drink, without alcohol. On this day he produced the first measure of the beverage called Coca-Cola, which is essentially a non-alcoholic version of his former product.
It is interesting that Coca-Cola originally contained cocaine – it was not legally prohibited at the time. It was not until the late 19th century that the prohibition of cocaine was introduced, so that the recipe of Coca-Cola was changed and became more similar to the one used today.