Tattoo History: Everything You Need to Know

A simple but still cool body modification that many everyday people have are tattoos, getting inked is what some people’s first wish is to when they turn 18.

I got my first tattoo when I turned 19, it is a cherry blossom tree that goes up my forearm.

In this article, I will talk about how the History behind tattoos, and how they are significant.

Tattoo History

Tattoo History

First of all, tattoos been around longer than one might think, there have been excavations in Egypt that have found mummies to have tattoos on their hands and faces according to “There’s certainly evidence that women had tattoos on their bodies and limbs from figurines c.

4000-3500 B.C. to occasional female figures represented in tomb scenes c. 1200 B.C. and in figurine form c. 1300 B.C., all with tattoos on their thighs.”

Fascinating indeed!

But ancient Egyptians weren’t the only ones to have tattoos many Native American tribes used to tattoo each other to express stories and to give titles.

The oldest tattoo discovered was on the Ice Man, Ötzi is a mummified corpse found in the European Alps, he died around 3500 B.C.

Ötzi has 61 tattoos on his body, and researchers in Italy are studying the tattoos trying to understand what they mean and are for.

They have theorized that his tattoos might have something to do with medical, as some of them are located in acupuncture points and one on his ribcage that might have been used to help with chest pain.

Historians seem to believe that tattoos were given to people on certain parts of the body to help relieve pain, and some tattoos were given to the ranks of certain members of society.

Tattoos In Egypt

Tattoos In Egypt

Tattoos have a different meaning within different cultures, going back to the Egyptian mummies found, the women-only had tattoos and according to Cate Lineberry from

She states

“And although it has long been assumed that such tattoos were the mark of prostitutes or were meant to protect the women against sexually transmitted diseases, I personally believe that the tattooing of ancient Egyptian women had a therapeutic role and functioned as a permanent form of amulet during the very difficult time of pregnancy and birth.”

she goes on to say that these patterns were often found on the abdomen and thighs as to help with birthing.

Tattoos In America

American culture tattoos

Native American culture tattoos were given to signify strength and victory after a war, they believed tattoos would give them supernatural powers.

Natives also used tattoos to identify each other, and differentiate between tribes.

The rise of tattoos in America began in the 1970s when the rise of punk culture became a thing, in 1991 around 20% of Americans had tattoo’s according to Hannah Botwell from but they didn’t start becoming mainstream until 2000.

With many different styles of art such as realism, black and grey, stipping, and my personal favorite is Japanese inspired tattoos.

Modern Tattoos

Modern Tattoos

In modern times, tattoos are more body modification than used for supernatural powers.

Many people get tattoos for themselves or to remember a loved one, but every tattoo doesn’t have to have a meaning.

So when thinking back to how and why ancient Egyptians had tattoos, the main thought in my head is “they probably wanted to look cool” tattoo’s used to be thrown upon from older generations seeing teens and young adults as “rebellious” but now that we have become more progressive in our societal views it’s not often that someone gets called out for having a tattoo.

Black tattoos are the most common tattoos nowadays.

Therefore, when getting a black tattoo on your skin make sure you buy the best black tattoo ink to prevent any health issues.


In conclusion, tattoos are body modifications that may have had some medical use in the old ages, but nowadays is a way to express your emotions on your body or “canvas” as many people call it.

I think everyone should go experience what it is like to get a tattoo before they judge someone for having one.

I wonder in the future if scientists will look back to tattoos of today and wonder why generations of people bear images of trees, names, and even faces of others, hopefully, they come to the conclusion that we just wanted to look cool or remember a loved one.