Is the World Going Dry?

A 1923 New York Times Magazine article detailed the contemporary efforts of other countries to ban alcohol, just as the U.S. did with Prohibition in 1919. Like the U.S., most of those nations also ended the experiment within years.

Actual prohibition has been adopted by the entire Dominion of Canada, except the Provinces of Quebec and British Columbia; by many native States in India, by the Angora Government in Turkey [sic], and by Finland.

How did these experiments turn out?

Turkiye, as the State Department now spells it as of earlier this month, enacted prohibition for only one year in 1923 before reversing course.

Finland’s prohibition ran from 1920 to 1933, almost the exact same years as the U.S. did from 1919 to 1933.

Canada enacted Prohibition on a province-by-province basis, but most provinces indeed did so, and they repealed it on their own individual timelines. Quebec repealed it in 1919, followed by British Columbia in 1920, Manitoba in 1923, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1924, Newfoundland in 1925, Ontario and New Brunswick in 1927, Nova Scotia in 1930 — though the final holdout Prince Edward Island didn’t end it until 1948.

The nations that still ban alcohol today are primarily located in northern Africa or the Middle East and do so for religious reasons: Afghanstan, Brunei, Iran, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

Is the World Going Dry?

Published: Sunday, January 21, 1923

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