There is no specific time and place to pinpoint the origin of tug of war. The contest of pulling a rope originates from ancient ceremonies and cults, which are found all over the world, such as in Egypt, Greece, India, China, etc. In Western Europe evidence of tug of war is found in the year 1000 AD, in the story of the heroic champions of Scandinavia and Germany. In the 1500s and 1600s tug of war was popularised during tournaments in French châteaux gardens and later in Great Britain. British sailors introduced the sport's modern variation in the late 1800s. The game garnered such widespread attention that it was even included as an Olympic sport from 1900-1920, but has not been included since.
As tug of war was no longer on the Olympic Programme, national athletic and gymnastic associations were not very interested in tug of war as a discipline. The tug of war teams, at that time, felt that they had to establish their own autonomous association. The first association was founded in Sweden in 1933, in England in 1958, and soon after many other countries followed suit. The Tug of War International Federation (TWIF) was formed in 1960 and organized its first European Championships in London in 1965. After non-European countries had also joined the international federation, TWIF held its first World Championships in 1975 in the Netherlands. The female competition was first organized at the World Championships in 1986.