The Rise of the Tobacco Trade in Early America

The Rise of the Tobacco Trade in Early America

The Rise of the Tobacco Trade in Early America

Tobacco planting has a long history in United States. Tobacco cultivation was practiced by American Indians even before colonialists from Europe arrived. Native Americans use to smoke tobacco for religious and medical purposes and therefore tobacco was not an everyday thing. Tobacco growing for business started after the colonist arrived in North America. Virginia was the first colony to grow tobacco as a main cash crop.

Tobacco was loved and smoked by many Europeans in America despite it detrimental effect on the prominent people. Because of the demand, tobacco farmers in North America expanded their plantation to meet the demand. The Colony of Maryland also copied colony of Virginia after realizing that tobacco business was very profitable. In 18th century, economies of Maryland and Virginia were significantly dependent on Tobacco Company. These two colonies had to seek cheap labor from African slaves for them to supply tobacco market.




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Although the revolutionary war had detrimental effects on the tobacco trade, United States demand for tobacco was boosted locally. Also, new markets such as France were found. However, tobacco business started facing competition from other crops such as rice and cotton, what made some planters to switch. Cultivating tobacco was also expensive and labor extensive.

Carr, Lois Green, Philip D Morgan, and Jean Burrell Russo. Colonial Chesapeake Society. Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolina Press, 1988. Print.

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