Thousand of years ago, the people of Caribbean South America had a need for a versatile but comfortable device to sleep in. Using the supple bark of the Hamack tree, the Latin villagers wove a mesh like net. The net could be hung out of the way, not taking up very much space in the small thatched hut, and was extremely comfortable to sleep and relax in. The woven bed quickly became popular and was soon traded throughout Central and South America.
Today, this ancient Caribbean creation is known as the hammock. The hammock is still a standard furnishing in most homes in many areas of Latin America. It’s popularity has spread far beyond these Latin countries. Hammocks can be seen in several styles and varieties and have numerous uses around the globe.
Most modern hammocks are machine made from a synthetic blend of cotton and nylon. Hand woven hammocks can still be found in many areas of Latin America, though they are now made of cotton rather than plant bark.
The most common use of a hammock is for resting, sleeping, or relaxation. Many American homes have backyard hammocks for reading or just enjoying the outdoors. These swing-like seats can be hung between two trees or may be attached to a metal frame. It is not uncommon to see hammocks alongside the water at many lakeside or ocean front vacation homes or resorts.
Hammocks have had lots of other uses through the years. They were once used in the cramped sleeping quarters of US Navy ships. They have also been used inside space ships for napping between missions. There are also some hammocks made for specific activities, like hiking, backpacking, and recreational tree climbing. Activity specific hammocks are often made of a more lightweight fabric for ease of carrying and can include other special features like mosquito nets.
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