Klondike: A Brief History of the Most
Famous Solitaire Card Game
may know it by another name, but chances are, if you have ever played a
Solitaire card game, then the version you have been playing is the one
popularly known as Klondike. The history of this game is one steeped in mystery
– with several sources claiming it originates in 17th century France.
Meanwhile, other stories suggest the name Klondike comes from Canada and that
the game became highly in demand in the 19th century during the gold rush.
However the game started, it is still just as popular today as ever. Below, we
take a look at some of the fascinating theories relating to the history of this
long-running game - and who might have started it.
Vive La Revolution!
may not have been the most glamorous of places to spend your time, but the
infamous Bastille prison in Paris is supposed by some to be the original home
of Klondike. Some suspect that disgraced French nobles created the game after
being imprisoned by King Louis XIV, as a way to while away their long lonely
sentences in isolation.
The French Theory Continues
it seems highly unlikely the claim is accurate, it has been suggested by some
that it might have been another French man who was responsible for Klondike's
invention. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte has previously been cited as the original
inventor of the card game. There are theories that he created a Solitaire card
game while exiled on the island of St. Helena. There are several variants named
after both him and the island itself. However, historians refute the suggestion
that Napoleon started the game himself. Instead, it seems that he simply
enjoyed playing card games, not inventing them!
The Power of the Cards
story is that there may be a link between Klondike and cards used for
divination and fortune-telling. While we are not sure if this is true, it
certainly would make playing the game spookier. In reality, it is probably
likely this theory relates to the rise in requests for tarot card readings in
the 18th century. This in turn, helped boost the popularity of playing card
games in general.
A Little Patience
the UK, Klondike is sometimes also called Patience. Eagle-eyed literary fans
might notice that in Charles Dickens's famous novel Great Expectations,
released in 1864, one of the characters is playing the game when the reader
first meets them. Other names the game goes by include Fascination, American
Patience and Triangle.
A Modern Era
people will be familiar with the digital version of Klondike, thanks to
Microsoft incorporating the game into their Windows 3.0 operating system. Many
people still use the game as a way of improving their computer skills while
having fun. It remains the most widely used digital card game globally.
you haven't played it yet, now is a great time to give it a try. Klondike has
been around for a long time, and we’re happy to say it isn’t going anywhere.
You can find out more about Klondike and our many Solitaire card games
available by taking a look at our selection of games and downloading them for