The Story of Solitaire

Since the mid 18th century, mankind had a simple answer whenever he was alone with nothing to do, Solitaire. It is perfect for wasting idle time. It’s engaging. It’s fun. It’s easy. And when things get frustrating, cheating yourself is a-okay.

Solitaire has been so popular that it has followed us into the digital age. Almost every computer has Windows installed and one of the default games since the beginning was solitaire. Real life plating cards have been replaced with digital cards and it’s still a fine game. Our love for solitaire is something that non-PC users can understand.

Like every great and grand thing, no one is sure how the card game was created. Like astronomy and the creation of fire, the true origins of solitaire are lost to the mists of time. There are no records that point to the truth. There are only a few clues.

Enough hints are left in history to suppose that solitaire originated in Northern Europe, like Scandinavia or the Baltic. These are very cold regions that suffer from winters where the sun barely appears during the “day”. Somehow, this makes it a very apt birthplace for the game. Many theorize that it was originally a form of fortunetelling. This makes a certain sense. It shows us a bleak picture of a lonely person in cottage idling away time asking, When will the sun come back? It’s really cold.

Regardless of its origins, solitaire spread managed to spread. It found its way to France in the early 19th century. At that time, France was a trendsetter. It ha gotten rid of its monarchy and then brought it back. It also popularized the metric system. France was very cool then and the other European Nations liked to follow France’s lead because they invaded the countries that didn’t and their women were (and still are) hot.

Famous people are said to have played solitaire, just like you and me. In his exile, Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France and Scourge of Europe, played solitaire. What else were you supposed to do on an obscure island?

In other countries, solitaire is known as patience. Napoleon knew it by that name. Apart from a different name, there are different variations to the game. Many of these solitaire-likes are named after Napoleon or the island of his exile, like Napoleon’s Square, Napoleon at St. Helena, etc.

Today, solitaire is ubiquitous in computer systems everywhere. Few people are left in the world that doesn’t know how to play solitaire. Too bad, they can’t play together.