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Darts History, a captivating narrative of skill and precision, showcases the sport’s rich past and unique origins.

Embark on a journey through Darts History.

Discover its intriguing beginnings, famous players, and how it evolved into a popular pastime today!

Let’s aim high!

Darts History Summary

  • ⏳ Origins and Evolution: Darts traces its roots back to medieval England, where it began as a pastime for soldiers and later transitioned into a favorite pub game. Over time, standardized rules and equipment emerged, shaping the sport we know today.
  • πŸš€ Rise to Prominence: The formation of the British Darts Organisation (BDO) in the early 1970s and the introduction of the World Professional Darts Championship in 1978 fueled the sport’s popularity. Iconic players like Eric Bristow and Phil Taylor captivated fans and elevated darts to a professional level.
  • πŸ₯‡ Noteworthy Growth and Adaptation: Darts has experienced significant expansion over the past few decades, with the formation of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and the televised broadcast of major tournaments. The sport’s embrace of technology, international competitions, and ongoing development continue to secure its global appeal.

Darts History Timeline

1300s – 1500s

The early origins of darts can be traced back to medieval England when soldiers used short arrows and threw them at the bottom of wine barrels or tree trunks as a way to pass time. By the 1500s, the game had become a popular activity in pubs, where it was also used to settle disputes and challenges.

The initial dartboards were made from elmwood, which required constant soaking to prevent splitting. As the game continued to spread throughout the British Isles, different regions developed distinct rules, resulting in a lack of standardization across the sport.

1800s – early 1900s

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, darts began to evolve into modern forms. Standardized dartboards were introduced, notably the Yorkshire Board and the London Board. In 1896, Brian Gamlin, a carpenter from Bury, Lancashire, devised the numbering system on the London Board that is still in use today.

During this period, the sport gained traction among the working class of Britain. Immigrants from the British Isles helped spread the game to other countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia.

1920s – 1930s

In the 1920s, British breweries started organizing darts leagues, leading to increased popularity and adoption of the game. The first ever News of the World Individual Darts Championship took place in 1927, but the competition was only open to players residing in London.

Throughout the 1930s, darts gained international recognition, with tournaments held in countries like Canada and the United States. The News of the World Championship opened up to players from across the United Kingdom, laying the groundwork for the future World Championships.


Television broadcasts began playing a significant role in the prominence of darts during the 1950s. The British television show “Indoor League,” which aired from 1972 to 1977, regularly featured darts competitions, further increasing the sport’s popularity among the general public.

In 1954, the National Darts Association of Great Britain was formed to oversee and promote the sport. Their efforts contributed to better regulation and standardization of darts, paving the way for a more organized and professional game.


The modern era of professional darts began in the 1970s when the British Darts Organisation (BDO) was established in 1973. The first World Professional Darts Championship took place in 1978 and was won by Leighton Rees.

During this decade, legendary darts players like Eric Bristow and John Lowe emerged, further garnering attention for the sport. The broadcast of major tournaments on television led to an explosion in popularity and enticed more players to participate in the game.


The 1990s were marked by a major split in professional darts. In 1992, many of the sport’s top players broke away from the BDO, citing dissatisfaction with its management, and formed a new organization, the World Darts Council (WDC), later renamed the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).

The PDC introduced lucrative prize money and hosted its inaugural World Championship in 1994. With two rival organizations causing division, darts experienced a turbulent period, but this also led to increased competition and growth in the sport’s exposure.

2000s – 2010s

The new millennium saw the dominance of Phil “The Power” Taylor. His 16 World Championship wins and numerous other titles solidified his legendary status in darts history. The sport continued to grow, with major tournaments consistently drawing large audiences around the world.

Advancements in technology during this period introduced electronic scoreboards, digital platforms for watching live games, and online communities of fans and players. The PDC supported the sport’s expansion by hosting tournaments in countries like Germany, Netherlands, and the United States, further cementing darts’ global reach.


Who invented Darts?

The game of Darts was created by soldiers in medieval England, specifically archers who began throwing short arrows at the bottom of a cask or tree while they were not engaged in battle.

How did Darts become so popular?

Darts gained popularity due to its easy understanding, low cost, and the social aspect of the game. The inception of professional leagues and televised tournaments further boosted its stature.

Where did Darts originate?

Darts originated in medieval England, and was initially a pastime indulged in by soldiers, particularly archers. Today, it is played professionally and recreationally all over the world.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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