Winning the Lottery: It’s All in the Past

 

History of Winning the Lottery

Winning the lottery includes a long and ancient history. The word “lottery” arises from the Italian “lotto”, meaning fate or destiny. Many lottery games in the English speaking world are known as lotto games. How to win the lottery has been a globally question for hundreds, even 1000s of years.

Ancient Lotteries

Lotteries have a historical, venerable and somewhat checkered history. There are lots of biblical references to the drawing of lots to award ownership and in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 26, Moses works on the lottery to award land west of the River Jordan. In the New Testament, Roman soldiers drew lots to choose who would get Jesus’cloak after the crucifixion.

In 100 BC, the Hun Dynasty in China created the lottery game referred to as Keno. A lot of the funds raised were used to finance the construction of the Great Wall, intended as a perimeter defense. Winning the lottery was less important than defending the country.

Origin of Modern Lotteries

The first recorded European lottery was held in 1446 by the widow of the Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck to dispose of his remaining paintings. Winning this lottery could have given you a prize worth mega millions today!

Encyclopedia Britannica states that the lottery as we know it dates back to 15th century France where it had been utilized by individual towns to improve money for strengthening the town’s defenses (Europe includes a strong tradition of citizens considering themselves as owned by a town rather than a state or perhaps a country, for example, a resident would consider him or herself as a Roman, zemusica rather than an Italian.) King Francis I of France allowed lotteries to use from 1520, and the very first municipal lottery to provide money as a prize was La Lotto de Firenze, run by the town of Florence in 1530. Other cities in Italy soon followed suit.

In 1567, Queen Elizabeth I established the very first English state lottery, with prizes including cash, gold and silver plate, and tapestries. 400,000 tickets were offered for sale. For a while, just how to win the lottery was a concern on most of the citizens’lips.

In 1612, King James I of England created a lottery in London by royal decree. The proceeds helped to finance the very first British colony in America at Jamestown, Virginia. Anglican churches held two of the three winning tickets in the very first draw!

Winning the Lottery: The First National Lottery

In the middle 18th century, a distinctive event occurred in France. Due to the potential for fixing the outcome in privately operated lotteries, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova (1725 – 1798) persuaded Louis XV of France to found the very first state-owned monopoly lottery, the Loterie Royale of the Military School, which became the forerunner of the Loterie Nationale. Other lotteries in France were outlawed. The lottery was a Keno style game, where players could select 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 numbers between 1 and 90. (Incidentally, Casanova owned an interest in the new lottery and became wealthy consequently, but sold his interest shortly afterwards and lost the proceeds through unwise investments; sounds exactly like some modern lottery winners, doesn’t it?)

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