It's National Tattoo Day, Here's A Brief History of Tattooing

The tattoo industry is always changing and today we'll take a brief look at how it all started and how much it has evolved!

Tattoo by Chris Rigoni

It is believed that marks on the world's oldest mummy, the Iceman, are tattoos. His remains date to 3300 BCE and his body has 60 lines and crosses on it. 

Tattoo by Nick Imms

After the rise of Christianity, tattooing was forbidden in Europe, but it remained in places such as the Middle East.

Tattoo by Sarah Miller

 In 1769, explorer James Cook found tattooing on Tahiti. The natives called it "tatau," which is where the current name "tattoo" comes from.


Tattoo by Justin Nordine

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, tattoos began to garner interest at exhibits, fairs, and circuses.

Tattoo by Jenna Kerr

Sailors in the 1700s had a large influence on tattooing in western culture.

Tattoo by Brandon Schultheis


In 1891, Samuel O'Reilly patented the first electric tattooing tool in the United States. Tattoo pattern sheets from the United States became very influential around the world.

Tattoo by Ryan Ashley Malarkey 

In 1961, New York City declared it "unlawful for any person to tattoo a human being," a prohibition that remained on the books for nearly four decades until the city finally re-legalized the tattoo trade in 1997.

Tattoo by Megan Jean Morris

 Fast forward to today where tattoos are widely accepted and celebrated! Ring in the holiday with #NationalTattooDay.

Tattoo by Sandra Daukshta

Which part of the timeline surprised you the most? Are you getting a new tattoo to celebrate? Comment below!

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