In 1972, a team of archaeologists from ISMEO - Institute for the Middle and Far East of the university of Rome, at a dig made at Shahr-l-Sokhta, in Persian Sistan, found a twine of kenaf dating back to the third millennium to 2400-2800 B.C. (Personal communication of Prof. Costantini - ISMEO - Rome). It is therefore a textile artefact.
In historical times, the first use of kenaf was by the populations of the Indian subcontinent that - due to the greater adaptability of the species in relation to jute - have always used it in the marginal areas of the monsoon basin of the Asian continent.
It was therefore in this area where from the second half of the 1700s many British researchers became interested in this species and its cultivation: this was both with tests of experimental comparison, such as those carried out in Madras from 1784 to 1815 by Sir William Roxburgh, and later on in Calcutta, in the gardens of the East India Company, and by describing its spread in the wild or under cultivation in the different parts of India by the local populations.
According to Dustan, as reported by Dempsey, kenaf fiber was first introduced into Europe on the London market in the early twentieth century (1901-1902) with the name of "Bimlipatam jute".
Source: "Il kenaf, non solo una nuova materia prima cellulosica" - G. Mignoni