by Triston Hatcher

Tobacco in the American Colonies

Early American settlers soon found tobacco had a profitable market in England, and all other economic activities were discontinued. It was popular in Europe where tobacco smoking and snuff taking had become fashionable. The English consumed more tobacco per capital than any other European nation in the 17th century and sought a place to grow it so they would not have to buy from their old rival, Spain. They could take advantage of this opportunity only if they could get enough labor to increase output. Much of the profits went to importing more English servants. However, the supply of indentured servants had decreased by the end of the 17th century. Desperate for a labor force, they turned to African slaves.\

What are the plantation colonies?

Although planters were only a small part of the Southern population, the plantation economy and slavery shaped life in the SouthernColonies: Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. The South's soil and almost year-round growing season were ideal for plantationcrops like rice and tobacco.

Who brought tobacco back from the New World?

In 1571, a Spanish doctor named Nicolas Monardes wrote a book about the history of medicinal plants of the new world. In this he claimed that tobacco could cure 36 health problems. Sir Walter Raleigh introduced "Virginia tobacco into England.

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The Growth of the Tobacco Trade

Virginia's economic future did not lie with gold. There was too little gold to be found there. Looking for new ways to make its investments pay dividends, the Virginia Company of London began encouraging multiple ventures by 1618.