A Brief History
On January 11, 1569, the first documented example of a lottery in England took place. Although 1569 seems like a long time ago, lotteries actually go back much, much farther!
The first evidence of any sort of government run lottery for money game takes us back to the Chinese Han Dynasty somewhere between 205 and 187 BC. This money raising scheme was for the purpose of financing public works, including The Great Wall of China.
Lotteries first showed up in Europe in the Roman Empire, first in private parties and later under Emperor Augustus as a government function. Lotteries continued throughout European history and arrived in America with European colonization. American lotteries can date back to 1612 in Virginia, with a lottery authorized by King James I.
The rest, as we say, is History! It should be noted that Dr. Zar and Major Dan have as yet failed to win any of the million dollar+ jackpots offered by American lotteries…
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For more information, please see…
Ashton, John. A History of English Lotteries. Now for the First Time Written. Sagwan Press, 2015.
Cohen, Jonathan. For a Dollar and a Dream: State Lotteries in Modern America. Oxford University Press, 2022.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Ron Shelley of an English Lottery Scroll, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
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