A Short History of Curling – How Curling Came to Be

Every sport has its origin story. Some stories are more interesting than others. Some sports cannot be pinpointed to a single location in the world. Others, can. Golf, for example, was created in Scotland, or at least, there we can find the earliest written records of golf, as well as other things which point us in that direction.

Curling, like golf, was invented in Scotland. The history of curling begins in Scotland and from there, it found its way to the rest of the world, becoming one of the most interesting sports to watch. Here is a brief overview of the history of curling.

The Roots of Curling – Scotland

Scotland is considered the origin country of curling, and there is hard evidence to back that claim up. Namely, a curling stone was discovered in Dunblane after a lake was drained. The stone had the year inscribed on it, 1511. It is safe to assume that there were probably more stones from earlier periods, but this can safely place curling in Scotland in the early 16th century.

There is written evidence as well. In 1541, references to curling were acquired through the Paisley Abbey records. There are also paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder dated to 1565, showing Flemish people curling, though using brooms.

So, curling can be traced to Scotland and to some extent, to the Lowlands. But, curling’s origin, while important, is not the reason why it is as popular as it is today.

Expansion and a Trip over the Atlantic

Curling did not really take off as a sport until it moved over to Canada. This is very important because Canada really loves curling and they are its winningest representatives on the international level. Domestically, Canada has multiple curling tournaments and top-tier leagues for both men and women.

Since the 1700s and onwards, plenty of Scottish People emigrated to Canada. They brought curling with them. The Royal Montreal Curling Club was founded in 1807 and is the oldest continuously active sports club in North America, not just Canada. Even though Canada is a major representative of curling, the World Curling Federation headquarters are in Perth, Scotland.

Olympic Curling

Curling was used as a demonstrative sport in the 1924 and 1932 Olympics. Gold medals were won by the UK in 1924 and Canada in 1932.

Curling was introduced as an official Olympic sport in 1998. In 2002, however, they decided to retroactively award the Olympic status to curling, making its first entries in 1924 and 1932 no longer demonstrative but actual Olympic sports. 

Curling is an interesting sport and like most sports, it has its own history. This is just a brief look back, to help you get started. More details are available to curling history enthusiasts, should they want them.