Why was the Golden Snitch added to Quidditch?
Quidditch had already existed for 300 years before the Snitch was added as the fourth and final ball of the game. It was not until 1269, when a very important wizard named Barberus Bragge attended a match, that Quidditch would evolve into the game that Harry, Ron and the rest of the wizarding world love so much.
Witches and wizards living in the early twelfth century enjoyed the sport of Snidget-hunting. Golden Snidgets are small, speedy and agile creatures. These very traits made them difficult to find, but the perfect prey to hunt. The witch or wizard who could catch a Snidget was regarded very highly for showing such immense skill and talent. Though frowned upon for hurting and killing peaceful creatures, the sport was so popular that no effort was made to ban it.
At the Quidditch game he was spectating, Barberus Bragge released a Snidget onto the pitch and offered one hundred and fifty Galleons to the player who could snatch it first. From then on, Snidgets were a fixture at all Quidditch games. The Hunter, whose title would eventually change to Seeker, was added as a new player position – their goal being to catch the Snidget and win one hundred and fifty points, rather than Galleons, for their team.
The popularity of Quidditch inevitably led to a decrease in the population of Golden Snidgets. The Wizards’ Council labelled the creature a protected species, meaning Snidget-hunting and the use of Snidgets in Quidditch was finally illegal.
A replacement for the Snidget was then needed for Quidditch to continue. It was found in Godric’s Hollow, in the skilled mind of a wizard named Bowman Wright. He invented a ball whose size and abilities mirrored that of a Snidget. It was small, golden and even had wings that made it as fast and swift as its predecessor. The Golden Snitch took flight.