The Ancient Origins and Evolution of Playing Cards

TLDR Playing cards have a long history, originating in China and evolving into different types before spreading to the Islamic world and eventually Europe. They have undergone changes in suits, royal cards, and designs, with the Ace of Spades having a special significance in British decks.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Playing cards have a very ancient heritage, originating in China with the first games resembling cards being played with sheets of paper and possibly even paper money.
02:06 Playing cards originated in China and evolved into different types, including domino cards, before being brought to the Islamic world and eventually Europe, where they were first mentioned in an edict in Switzerland in 1367.
04:01 Playing cards were popular in Europe before 1367 and underwent changes to the suits and royal cards, with different countries developing their own variations, and the spread of playing cards was facilitated by the invention of printing, particularly in France, where the suits were divided by color and eventually became the most popular in Europe.
05:59 The royal cards in playing card decks were modeled after historical figures, with each suit representing a different king or queen, and the word "ace" comes from a Latin word meaning a single undivided unit, which was also the name of a Roman coin.
07:59 The Ace of Spades was a special card in British playing card decks because it represented a tax on playing cards, which existed until 1960, and many printers began to create elaborate Ace of Spades cards with their logos on them.
09:56 Playing cards have evolved over time to include the Joker, which is where the printer's logo is usually placed, and the backs of cards now have individualized designs, with the largest manufacturer of playing cards being the U.S. Playing Card Company, and casinos being the biggest consumer of playing cards.
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