The machete is undoubtedly one of the most widely used tools worldwide. One of the things that immediately makes an impression, however, is the wide variety of shapes and sizes of the various variations of this instrument. This is because the name is rather collective for blades of different origins but used for similar types of work. The main feature that unites them is that they are wide and long blades whose main function is to cut - whether it is for vegetation clearing or for cultivating crops (for example, cutting sugarcane). The length is usually between 40 and 65 cm. Often these are blades that originate in cool weapons, later adapted to tools. But quite naturally, these tools are often used as weapons.
In different regions of the world, machete-type blades have different origins, which also affects their specific shape. In the Balkans, their most likely precursor is the ancient Thracian mahira weapon - a short curved sword unilaterally sharpened on the concave side. Specifically in Bulgaria, the traditional blade that has the characteristics of a machete is the so-called doodle. Its usual length is between 43-53 cm and its width reaches 55 mm.
The Asian variants of these blades are developed, for example, on the basis of the Chinese Tao sword and the favorite weapon of the Gurkha warriors - Cuckoo. There are machetes, very similar to the Middle Eastern yatagans. One of the most common machete models is based on the European sword falchion, the earliest variants of which date back to the 13th century. The very name of the machete, which has become collectively for this type of blade, comes from Spanish. Initially, with him, the artillery soldiers named the various cool weapons they used to clear the ground when setting firing positions. With the colonization of the Americas and the widespread use of these tools, the machete was called.
In the early 19th century, industrialization began and new technologies enabled the mass production of quality tools. Steel casting technology has been introduced, which allows cheap production of quality tools and tools. Among them are machetes. The first known company to start mass production is the US-based Collins & Company, based in Connecticut. In 1845 they put their machetes on the market and soon sold all over Latin America and the Caribbean. The success is enormous and the name is gaining worldwide popularity.
As mentioned earlier, the machete is used as an instrument in agriculture for clearing areas of vegetation or for cultivating crops. Its use is particularly widespread in countries with tropical and subtropical climates. This is a handy tool that finds other applications. For example, it is a popular yard maintenance tool if you live in a house or have a villa. The machete is a very suitable and sometimes obligatory choice when preparing for camping, picnics and more hiking in nature. In a natural disaster, it is not only an invaluable tool to help you build a shelter and provide firewood, but also a weapon that can help protect you from wildlife. There are modern machetes designed specifically for survival with a variety of blade modifications, such as a toothed back that can be used as a saw or blade front that can be used for digging.
We should also note here the military use of the machete. Many armies around the world make extensive use of the machete in their day-to-day operations - whether on the battlefield, in jungles and forests or as a tool in the bases. Some armies develop their own designs and variations. For example, the Brazilian Army Jungle Training Center has its own machete model, with a clear clip-point blade, which is part of specialized equipment. The US Army also has its own model of machete, with one having a serrated back to serve as a saw. As part of the military equipment, the machete was widely used during World War II, and especially the Vietnam War. Besides being used as a melee weapon, various armies have their own fighting techniques. The machete is also often used as a weapon by various paramilitary and rebel groups. Its widespread availability, easy access, low cost and the reliability it offers make it very preferred for this purpose. Historically, during the Cuban War of Independence (1868–1898), the machete was imposed as the most widely used melee weapon. This use continues to this day in various parts of the world. It is especially popular with armed groups in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
The characteristics of the machete-type blades make them one of the most used tools to this day. From farming, to daily domestic work, to tourism, to surviving in the wild, and even to military use (including high-tech armies), the machete remains a unique tool.