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The basic umbrella was invented over four thousand years ago. We have seen evidence of umbrellas in the ancient art and artifacts of Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and China. These ancient umbrellas or parasols, were first designed to provide shade from the sun.

The Chinese were the first to waterproof their umbrellas for use as rain protection. They waxed and lacquered their paper parasols in order to use them for rain.

Origins of the Term Umbrella - The word "umbrella" comes from the Latin root word "umbra", meaning shade or shadow.

Starting in the 16th century the umbrella became popular to the western world, especially in the rainy weather of northern Europe. At first it was considered only an accessory suitable for women. Then the Persian traveler and writer, Jonas Hanway (1712-86), carried and used an umbrella publicly in England for thirty years, he popularized umbrella use among men.

English gentleman often referred to their umbrellas as a "Hanway."