The history of bowling can be traced back to the Stone Age. The first evidence of the game was discovered by the British Anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie and his team of archaeologists in Egypt in the 1930s. He unearthed a collection of objects from a small child?s grave that appeared to have been the primitive form of the game. However, some argue that the game evolved much later than that. William Pehle, a German historian, claimed that the game of bowling originated in Germany around 300 AD. In Germany, the game had its origin as a religious ceremony for determining absence of sin. This game, introduced by the German monks to the masses, flourished as a customary test of faith.
In England, bowling was started as early as the 1100s. Throughout England, several variations of bowling, such as half-bowls, skittles and ninepins, existed during the mid 1300s. But, the first written mention of the game was made by the King Edward III in the year 1366. In this reference, he allegedly imposed a ban on playing this game among his troops because it was distracting the troops from archery practice. Later, during the regime of King Henry VIII, the game gained popularity and was played as a symbol of nobility and social status.
Bowling has been popular in America since Colonial days. During 17th century, English, Dutch and German settlers imported their own version of bowling to America. At that time, the game consisted of nine pins which were regularly played in an area of New York City still known as “Bowling Green”. Connecticut banned ninepins in 1841 because of their gambling implications.
The American Bowling Congress was formed on 9 September 1895 and is credited with standardizing bowling in the United States and organizing official competition. The Women’s Bowling League followed in 1917, under the encouragement of proprietor Dennis Sweeny.
Through the years, the game has changed. A variety of tactics have been developed. The invention of automatic pinspotter in the 1940s revolutionized both the bowling game and industry. Currently, the sport of bowling is enjoyed by 95 million people in more than ninety countries worldwide.