The History of the Tarot
The written history of Tarot dates back to 15th century Europe. Tarot Cards appear to have originated in Italy, and shortly thereafter gained popularity in France. The most likely source for their original name, Tarocchi is the Taro Riverin the Parma region of northern Italy. The Italian “Tarocchi” later evolved into “Tarot” in the French and English languages. Tarot cards are one of many types of playing cards that became popular in this era.
Evidence exists of Tarot cards being used for divinatory readings in Italy as early as the 16th century. Use of the cards for fortune telling initially was not widespread, or at least not widely admitted to. It is thought that the Gypsies were among the early Tarot readers. Divinatory Tarot readings started becoming more popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, likely due in part to the increased diversification of European Christianity and reduced threat of witch hunting during this period.