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Tobacco Plantation

Tobacco Plantation



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Bright Leaves

Tobacco and tobacco growers put North Carolina on the map. Since the colonial era, the economy was fueled primarily by agriculture, and for the past century tobacco was North Carolina's key product. Farming and industry in the state were built around the crop, and two of the four largest cities developed as company towns for the world's largest tobacco companies.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, North Carolina's economy was dwarfed by Virginia and South Carolina, states that developed more diverse industries, such as cotton and rice. Farms in North Carolina were disadvantaged by the quality of soil in the coastal plains, which was unsuitable for growing grain on a large scale, and most farmers scraped by at subsistence levels until the mid-19th century. Many of these "yeoman" farmers produced some tobacco, but the quality was poor, and very little was exported. In contrast to other southern states, large plantations were rare, and agriculture was less dependent on slave labor than in the Deep South -- a condition that made North Carolinians reluctant to join the other states of the Confederacy.

Ironically, the innovation that led the state to become a tobacco-growing powerhouse came from a slave, a man named Stephen who worked on the farm of Captain Abisha Slade. While curing a batch of tobacco in a smoky barn, he let the wood fire go out, and quickly restarted it with charcoal. The intense heat cured the tobacco quickly, turning it a vivid yellow. When this "brightleaf" (or flue-cured) tobacco was sold, it proved appealing to smokers, and within a decade, flue-cured tobacco became one of the most common varieties in production. The rapid curing process was also particularly well-suited for tobacco grown in the sandy soil of the coastal plains. Suddenly, farms that were producing other crops turned to tobacco.

Signs for Bull Durham Tobacco once covered walls all over the country. Photo: Jack E. Boucher, National Park Service.

At the same time, tobacco users' tastes were changing. In the 17th and 18th centuries, most of the crop was processed into snuff or heavily flavored pipe tobacco. The 19th century saw the development of a new fad in tobacco consumption: the cigarette became popular in Spain, where Turkish tobacco was readily available. The new flue-cured tobacco produced in North Carolina was similar, but cost much less for American and British consumers. Sensing a vast business opportunity, American growers began processing their own tobacco in small factories. These businesses thrived, prompting the development of improved transportation and trading centers in the burgeoning cities of Durham (serving growers in the eastern part of the state) and Winston (serving the western regions).

Auctioneer, buyers, and farmers during tobacco auction sale. Warehouse, Durham, North Carolina, 1939. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USF34- 052894-D

North of Durham, a small farmer named Washington Duke opened a small factory on his homestead, producing loose tobacco for rolling cigarettes. Through an intense marketing effort, Duke managed to earn substantial profits from a relatively small output of flue-cured tobacco. With his son James Buchanan "Buck" Duke, he later moved the business to downtown Durham, close to the tobacco warehouses where small farmers sold their crops. Duke's biggest rival was W.T. Blackwell and Company, which marketed a popular "Spanish" blend of tobacco that later gained fame under the trade name Bull Durham.

While a handful of large farms produced much of the state's crop during this period, small farmers were able to survive because of the increasing popularity of tobacco. Smoking became a truly national habit during the Civil War, when both Union and Confederate armies were supplied with regular rations of tobacco. Soldiers from around the country developed a taste for the brightleaf variety, creating a nationwide demand in the 1870s. Manufacturers responded by building larger factories, employing thousands of workers and spurring the rapid industrialization of Durham and Winston.

Tobacco Warehouse, Durham, 1930s. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USF33- 030672-M2

Smoking began to replace chewing as the preferred means of consuming tobacco, and cigars and cigarettes came to be seen as stylish accessories. In 1880, manufacturers based in North Carolina produced 2 million pre-rolled cigarettes, each of them rolled by hand. Each of the largest manufacturers sought to mechanize the rolling process, but met with little success until 1884, when Washington and Buck Duke signed an exclusive contract to use a machine designed by James Bonsack. Using Bonsack's machine, the Dukes were able to produce more cigarettes than all their competitors combined.

Determined to broaden the scope of his business, Buck Duke invested heavily in advertising and promotion, cementing his company's place as the market leader. By 1890, five firms accounted for 90 percent of the cigarette market. Duke persuaded his rivals to merge, forming the American Tobacco Company, which controlled the majority of the world tobacco trade until it was broken up under a Supreme Court antitrust ruling in 1911. The five companies that emerged from that reorganization -- R.J. Reynolds, American Tobacco, Lorillard, Liggett and Myers and the British-American Tobacco Company -- continued to dominate the market for decades.

Growing was still dominated by larger farms, but demand was so great that even small farmers were able to make profits with tobacco. Sharecropping and tenant farming became common among people who owned no land. Large numbers of African-Americans in the eastern part of the state farmed in this manner, paying a portion of each year's crop as "rent" to large landowners. As late as 1923, nearly half of the state's farmers were tenants.

During the Great Depression, farmers tried to compensate for lowered prices by producing more tobacco, leading to even lower prices. The federal government responded by providing subsidies for farmers. In 1938, a quota system was instituted, establishing strict limits on how much each farm could produce, and providing government-sponsored price supports.

Farming and manufacturing recovered quickly with the onset of World War II, as soldiers were once again supplied with cigarette rations. Postwar prosperity also boosted demand for cigarettes, which grew until the early 1960s, when concerns about the dangers of smoking became a major public health issue. The US Surgeon General issued a report in 1964 arguing that smoking caused lung cancer and a host of other medical problems.

Over the next four decades, as the number of American smokers declined steadily and restrictions on public smoking increased, the large manufacturers began cutting costs and laying off large numbers of workers and relocating their factories to less expensive areas. American Tobacco left Durham in 1987, and R.J. Reynolds moved its corporate headquarters away from Winston-Salem in 1989. Both companies made steep cuts at production facilities throughout the 1990s. In 2000, the last cigarette manufacturer, Liggett and Myers, left Durham. The most profitable market for cigarettes in the past decade has been in Asia, and American companies have invested heavily in overseas factories to lower their costs.

As demand for domestically produced tobacco flagged, the federal quotas were also diminished, leading many farmers to cease growing tobacco. The quota system ended in 2005, as part of a $10 billion package to end federal price supports for tobacco growers. The Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP) will provide farmers a series of annual payments, starting in 2005 and continuing until 2014. This program also ends all restrictions on tobacco farmers, but analysts predict that the majority of growers will cease growing tobacco.


A History of Tobacco Plantations in Virginia from Settlement to the Civil War

The history of tobacco begins some centuries before the coming of European colonists to the area. The First Nations of the continent had long ago began cultivating the plant. The Powhatan nation (among other east coast nations like those in Brooklyn) treated prepared parts of the plant as a trade item. It may not have been currency, but it was recognized as valuable.

The plant was used in sacred ceremonies involving pipes where one smoked to reach out to higher powers. Tobacco was also smoked in ceremonies to seal treaties or agreements, the origin of the “peace pipe” trope in Hollywood movies.

Europeans Begin Growing Tobacco

When the Powhatan and other nations introduced tobacco to European colonists, the plant quickly became a sensation. It wasn’t long before Europeans were eagerly smoking as much tobacco as they could. To keep up with the demand, a number of farmers in Virginia took to planting tobacco as a cash crop.

At first, tobacco plantations in the “tobacco colonies”, of which Virginia was the most notable, simply harvested the plants and then covered them with hay to prepare them in a curing process known as “sweat”. When regulations in 1618 prevented farmers from using valuable animal feeds like hay, farmers then switched to curing tobacco on lines or sticks.

Refinement of the Tobacco Curing Process

Initially the new curing process was done on fences, but it wasn’t long before entire barns became dedicated curing areas. Mold was a near constant threat in those days and entire crops could be lost before anyone knew what was going on. There was a fine art to ensuring that tobacco had absorbed just the right amount of moisture to make the transit across the Atlantic too much moisture and the tobacco leaves would mold, and too little moisture would cause it to dry out and crumble.

As more Europeans demanded more tobacco, the plantations grew. Soon they grew so large that they needed to hire extra workers. These workers eventually became indentured servants, and then outright chattel slaves. And so the plantations of Virginia moved forward with the rest of the United States, into an era of turmoil.

Early on, with farms in Virginia struggling to provide food to the colony and the local economy faltering under the weight of near famine, tobacco proved an invaluable solution to the colony’s financial problems. Demand from Europe was large enough that even though tobacco was a cash crop, the funds it brought in still managed to feed the colony of Virginia. Though after a while, Virginia and indeed all United States farmers learned to farm the land, the crop remained a major element of the stat’s economy to this very day.


Descendants of slaves and slave owners discover legacy of Maryland’s Sotterley Plantation

A former tobacco plantation in Southern Maryland that relied on slave labor and was the site where many captured Africans first touched land in America, will publicly honor the slaves who worked and died there next month.

It is the culmination of decades of work of a descendant of one of the former plantation owners working with a descendant of one of the former slaves of the Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood, Md.

“They wanted to show that however painful, this was part of our history,” said Jan Briscoe, a descendant of the last family to own slaves at Sotterley, which is in St. Mary’s County.

Sotterley has a recently restored slave cabin on the property.

It has a dirt floor, a simple pallet bed and low stairs leading to an attic space, alongside plaques that help visitors imagine life for an estimated dozen people in the tiny space, about 16 by 18 feet.

On Aug. 23, Sotterley will host a remembrance day, including a public reading of the names of those enslaved at the plantation, as well as a bell-ringing to honor those who died at the plantation and on the boat voyage getting to this country, said Nancy Easterling, executive director of Historic Sotterley, the nonprofit group that operates the site.

For almost 300 years, Sotterley, a historic home on a hill overlooking the Patuxent River, was known to the public as a quiet working tobacco plantation and farm in the fertile tidewater land adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay. It was notable for its continuous years as a working farm, owned by just four families in its long history. At its height, in the late 1700s, the plantation spanned 7,000 acres.

It was a tobacco farm until the mid-20th century, and after that a sheep and hay farm, as well as a country retreat for the wealthy families that owned it. In the early 1960s, Mabel Satterlee Ingalls, a descendant of an earlier owner, opened the property to the public as a museum that showcased the main home as a historic site, run by the Sotterley Mansion Foundation.

The slave cabin sat down the hill from the plantation house, and for many years it was not part of the tour.

The tour guides would skip over the fact that the farm had used slave labor, Briscoe said. Tour groups were not told that as many as 93 enslaved people were recorded at Sotterley in 1791, she said.

That narrative began to change in the 1970s when Agnes Kane Callum, a Baltimore woman and an avid genealogist, discovered that her grandfather was born enslaved at that property in 1860.


Tobacco in Colonial Virginia

The history of tobacco is the history of Jamestown and of Virginia. No one staple or resource ever played a more significant role in the history of any state or nation. The growth of the Virginia Colony, as it extended beyond the limits of Jamestown, was governed and hastened by the quest for additional virgin soil in which to grow this “golden weed.” For years the extension into the interior meant the expansion of tobacco production. Without tobacco the development of Virginia might have been retarded 200 years.

Tobacco was the life and soul of the colony yet a primitive, but significant, form of diversified farming existed from the very beginning especially among the small farmers. Even with the development of the large plantations in the eighteenth century, there were quite a number of small landowners interspersed among the big planters in the Tidewater area, and they were most numerous in the Piedmont section. They usually possessed few slaves, if any, and raised mostly grains, vegetables and stock which they could easily sell to neighboring tobacco planters. The negligible food imports by the colony indicates that a regular system of farming existed. Nor was tobacco the sole product of the large tobacco plantations. This is indicated by the fact that practically all of the accounts of the product of one man’s labor were recorded as so many pounds or acres of tobacco plus provisions. And had the plantations not been generally self-sufficient, the frequently extremely low prevailing tobacco prices would have made the agricultural economy even less profitable.

Tobacco was a completely new agricultural product to most, if not all, of the English settlers at Jamestown. There were no centuries of vast experience in growing, curing, and marketing to draw upon. These problems and procedures were worked out by trial and error in the wilderness of Virginia. Tobacco became the only dependable export and the colony was exploited for the benefit of English commerce. This English commercial policy, plus other factors, caused the Virginia planter to become somewhat of an agricultural spendthrift. For nearly 200 years he followed a system of farming which soon exhausted his land. Land was cheap and means of fertilization was limited and laborious. By clearing away the trees he was able to move north, south, southwest, and west and replace his worn-out fields with rich virgin soil necessary to grow the best tobacco.

While struggling with the problems involved in producing an entirely new crop about which they knew little or nothing, the colonists also had to feed themselves, deal with their racial problems, and maintain a stable local government as they continually expanded in a limitless wilderness. Out of all this chaos grew the mother and leader of the American colonies.

Tobacco penetrated the social, political, and economic life of the colony. Ownership of a large tobacco plantation could take one up the social ladder many of the men responsible for the welfare of the colony were planters, and everything could be paid for in tobacco. In 1620 the indentured servants were paid for with tobacco, the young women sent to the colonists to become wives were purchased by paying their transportation charges with tobacco. The wages of soldiers and the salaries of clergymen and governmental officials were paid in tobacco. After 1730 tobacco notes, that is warehouse receipts, representing a certain amount of money, served as currency for the colony.

The development of the inspection system with its chain of tobacco warehouses hastened urbanization. Around many of these warehouses grew villages and settlements some of these eventually became towns and cities. Richmond, Petersburg, Danville, Fredericksburg, Farmville, Clarksville and others were once merely convenient landings or locations for tobacco warehouses. Even today the fragrant aroma of cured tobacco still exists in a number of these places during the tobacco marketing season. The tobacco trade was largely responsible for the birth and growth of Alexandria, Dumfries, and Norfolk into important export-import centers. For her birth, growth, and colonial leadership, Virginia pays her respect to John Rolfe and the other brave settlers at Jamestown.

Tobacco is still [1957] a vital factor in Virginia’s economy. Of approximately 2,000,000 acres of cropland (pastureland excluded) in 1949, 115,400 were planted in tobacco which produced 124,904,000 pounds valued at $55,120,800 or twenty-three percent of the total value of all agricultural crops. Of the four largest agricultural products–poultry, tobacco, meat animals, and milk–tobacco ranked second only to poultry in terms of income in 1955. Poultry produced an income of $99,935,000, tobacco $84,128,000, meat animals $80,564,000, and milk $70,681,000. Peanuts and fruits were tied for fifth place, each producing an income of about $21,000,000.

Of the many different industries in Virginia today [1957] only five–food, textile, wearing apparel, chemical, and the manufacture of transportation equipment–employ more workers than the tobacco manufacturers. In 1953 a total of $40,000,000, in salaries and wages, was paid to production workers in the tobacco manufacturing industry in Virginia.

Although tobacco is no longer “king” in the Old Dominion, Virginia farmers produce enough of the “golden weed” each year to make one long cigarette that would stretch around the world fifty times.


Tobacco Plantation - History

The Plantation, ca. 1825, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This painting by an unknown artist depicts fields for cultivating cash crops, a ship for exporting goods, and a large mansion, but enslaved laborers are notably absent from this representation of plantation life. The role of slavery in producing plantation wealth is often erased or romanticized in American popular culture, from during the time of slavery into the present.

The conditions required for cultivating different cash crops largely shaped regional labor experiences and population demographics for enslaved Africans in the New World. European settlers experimented with a range of crops and export goods, often with significant influences from American Indians and Africans, but eventually market competition and environmental constraints determined which major cash crop different plantation regions primarily exported. The most lucrative cash crops to emerge from the Americas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were sugar, tobacco, and rice. Cotton agriculture did not become a major feature of the U.S. southern economy until the early nineteenth century.

A representation of the sugar-cane and the art of making sugar, West Indies, engraved by John Hinton, 1749, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Slave market in Pernambuco, Brazil, drawing by Augs. Earle, engraving by Francis Edward Finden, 1824, courtesy of the Library of Congress. Slave market in Pernambuco, Brazil, drawing by Augs. Earle, engraving by Francis Edward Finden, 1824, courtesy of the Library of Congress. The engraving was included in the journal of Maria Graham’s voyage to Brazil from 1821-23.

Sugar: The Caribbean and Brazil

The lucrative potential of sugar launched the rise of plantation agriculture from the Middle East to the Mediterranean, to islands in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans near Africa, and finally to the Americas. By the mid-seventeenth century, European settlers in the Caribbean and Brazil had established sugar plantation systems that dominated the trans-Atlantic sugar market. Sugarcane agriculture required a large labor force and strenuous physical labor (particularly during harvest times) to cultivate a profitable export. It also required skilled laborers for processing the crop from cane, to juice, and finally to crystallized sugar, molasses, or alcohol.

Sugar planters in the Americas initially deployed the labor of enslaved American Indians as well as enslaved Africans and European indentured servants, but by the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, African slavery had become the dominant plantation labor system. European diseases often decimated indigenous populations, and planters found it increasingly difficult to coax indentured servants to work under the brutal conditions of sugar production. Increased European access to the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the seventeenth century made enslaved Africans more cost-effective than indentured servants, and the growing wealth of sugar planters meant they could increasingly afford to invest in enslaved Africans for large plantation operations. Planters could also purchase enslaved Africans on credit, and then use the proceeds of their labor to pay the cost.

Sugar cultivation primarily thrived in the tropical regions of the Caribbean and Brazil (and later Louisiana in the nineteenth century). Diseases such as smallpox, typhoid, and dysentery were prevalent in the tropical climate, and enslaved workers were exceptionally vulnerable due to extreme labor exertion, malnutrition, and the recent trauma of the Middle Passage. For these reasons, mortality rates for enslaved workers were generally high in many sugar-producing areas, and often exceeded survival rates. Significant demand for new African laborers through the trans-Atlantic slave trade often remained consistent in these areas into the early nineteenth century.

Tobacco Plantation, engraving from Harpers' Weekly, 1855, courtesy of the Internet Archive.

Tobacco: Mid-Atlantic North America

Tobacco plantations thrived in the temperate climate of the Mid-Atlantic region of North America starting with the English colony of Virginia in the seventeenth century. In contrast to sugar, European settlers could make a profit growing tobacco with smaller slaveholdings and less labor exertion. The result was that mortality rates were less extreme than sugar plantation areas, though they remained significant, particularly during the early development of tobacco plantation production.

In contrast to sugar plantations, which required large slaveholdings that often led to a black population majority, tobacco plantations could operate profitably with smaller numbers of slaves. They also employed a mixed labor force of free, indentured, and enslaved workers, so that colonial tobacco plantation regions often had a white population majority.

In this minority context, enslaved Africans and African Americans had less access to the extended kinship connections found with large enslaved communities in black majority contexts. They maintained African community enclaves, but enslaved Africans in the Mid-Atlantic tobacco region in North America also lived in close and constant proximity to local whites. This proximity could have violent consequences for enslaved Africans and their African American descendants. Slaveholders throughout the New World regularly sought to break new arrivals into submission by stripping them of their African identities. Along with limiting independence and mobility, slaveholders employed oppressive strategies that included removing African names, assigning physically demanding labor, and minimizing food and clothing rations. Further submission methods were developed over time, such as legally forbidding African spiritual practices, drumming, and speaking in African languages. In black majority contexts, these oppressive strategies were also used, but could be more difficult to continuously implement, because slaveholders had less direct interaction with individuals from large groups of enslaved laborers. In white majority contexts, or in colonies that functioned as societies with slaves, slaveholders often had more direct and regular opportunities to control the daily experiences of enslaved people.


5e. Life in the Plantation South


Slave Cabin at Sotterley Plantation, Maryland, is one of the only remaining freely accessible examples of its kind in the state.

Plantation life created a society with clear class divisions. A lucky few were at the top, with land holdings as far as the eyes could see. Most Southerners did not experience this degree of wealth. The contrast between rich and poor was greater in the South than in the other English colonies, because of the labor system necessary for its survival. Most Southerners were yeoman farmers, indentured servants, or slaves. The plantation system also created changes for women and family structures as well.

The tidewater aristocrats were the fortunate few who lived in stately plantation manors with hundreds of servants and slaves at their beck and call. Most plantation owners took an active part in the operations of the business. Surely they found time for leisurely activities like hunting, but on a daily basis they worked as well. The distance from one plantation to the next proved to be isolating, with consequences even for the richest class. Unlike New England, who required public schooling by law, the difficulties of travel and the distances between prospective students impeded the growth of such schools in the South. Private tutors were hired by the wealthiest families. The boys studied in the fall and winter to allow time for work in the fields during the planting times. The girls studied in the summer to allow time for weaving during the colder months. Few cities developed in the South. Consequently, there was little room for a merchant middle class. Urban professionals such as lawyers were rare in the South. Artisans often worked right on the plantation as slaves or servants.

The roles of women were dramatically changed by the plantation society. First of all, since most indentured servants were male, there were far fewer women in the colonial South. In the Chesapeake during the 1600s, men entered the colony at a rate of seven to one. From one perspective, this increased women's power. They were highly sought after by the overwhelming number of eager men. The high death rate in the region resulted in a typical marriage being dissolved by death within seven years. Consequently there was a good deal of remarriage, and a complex web of half-brothers and half-sisters evolved. Women needed to administer the property in the absence of the male. Consequently many developed managerial skills. However, being a minority had its downside. Like in New England, women were completely excluded from the political process. Female slaves and indentured servants were often the victims of aggressive male masters.


Zachary Taylor’s Early Life and Military Career

Zachary Taylor was born on November 24, 1784, in Orange County, Virginia. The descendant of a long line of prominent Virginia planters, he was raised on a tobacco plantation outside Louisville, Kentucky, where his parents moved around the time of his birth. He received only a rudimentary education but was well schooled in the frontier skills of farming, horsemanship and using a musket. In 1808, the young Taylor left home after obtaining a commission as a first lieutenant in the army. In 1810, he married Margaret Mackall Smith, and they went on to have six children. (Their second daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor, would marry Jefferson Davis, the future president of the Confederacy, in 1835 she died three months later.) Taylor made his home near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a 2,000-acre plantation with some 80 slaves. He owned a second plantation in Mississippi.

Did you know? A career military officer, Zachary Taylor never voted in a presidential election before 1848, when he was elected. His explanation was that he hadn’t wanted to vote against a potential commander in chief.

In the years leading up to the War of 1812, Taylor helped police the western frontier of the United States against the Native Americans. He went on to command troops in the Black Hawk War of 1832 and the Second Seminole War in Florida from 1837 to 1840. When the U.S. annexation of Texas sparked war with Mexico, Taylor served as brigadier general and commanding officer of the army’s First Department at Fort Jesup, Louisiana. Taylor’s men quickly won victories at the Battle of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, garnering him a recommendation from President James K. Polk and a promotion to major general.


Civil and Tobacco Wars

Tobacco continued to inform the economy and policies of the United States into the 19th century CE. As the northern states became more industrialized, they required less slave labor, and many abolished the institution. The southern states, however, continued to rely on slaves for labor in the tobacco and cotton fields. Southern goods were frequently shipped to the north and were taxed but, the states felt, nothing of consequence was coming from the north to them as compensation disagreements over equitable trade and the southern states’ defense of slavery finally led to conflict.

Southern states broke with the union that had been formed after the Revolution, declaring themselves a separate entity, the Confederate States of America. Northern states responded by defining this action as rebellion and so the American Civil War (more properly known as the War Between the States) was begun. By the time the south was defeated in 1865 CE, slavery had been abolished, large plantations could no longer function as they once had, and former slaves now had to be paid a fair wage.

Patent drawing of the cigarette rolling machine invented by James Albert Bonsackin in 1880 CE and patented in 1881 CE. / Wikimedia Commons

The southern states were able to get around the new model by instituting laws on vagrancy whereby someone (almost always a black man) newly arrived in town, who could not provide a legal address, was arrested and sentenced to work on a local plantation. Planters who were provided with these “workers” were able to produce more tobacco at less cost than others with more modest farms who paid their laborers. The farmers sold their product to a distributor who then marketed it to the public, and those with the cheapest labor grew rich enough to also manage distribution.

The biggest distributor in the 19th and early 20th centuries was American Tobacco Company founded by James Buchanan Duke (l. 1856-1925 CE) who had nothing to do with production and everything with sales. He acquired all rights to the new cigarette-rolling machine in 1881 CE which was able to produce 400 cigarettes a minute. Having lowered his costs, he cut his prices, forcing competitors out of business who then sold their companies to him, allowing Duke to form a monopoly on the market. He then offered lower compensation to farmers for their crops which eventually resulted in the Tobacco Wars (better known as the Black Patch Tobacco Wars) of 1904-1909 CE in the region of Black Patch, Tennessee, a collection of counties so-named for the dark smoke from the tobacco-curing process.

The wars were a series of conflicts between tobacco suppliers and distributors and a coalition of farmers calling itself the Planter’s Protective Alliance which burned storehouses, farms, and warehouses and periodically hanged sharecroppers who worked on farms supplying Duke. The wars ended when the leaders were arrested in 1908-1909 CE and the American Tobacco Company was dismantled by the federal government in 1911 CE.


Tobacco Slavery

The tobacco industry made slavery profitable and Virginia tobacco slave owners rich. It was precisely the success of this crop that led to the mass importation of stolen African labor, and the vast wealth of old England and New England. Cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco are just badges of slavery’s ongoing legacy. You see it’s always with us and it never goes away.

Since 1990 the tobacco industry has “donated” a total of $59,410,256 to politicians of which 74% or $44,218,744 has gone into the Republican coffers. Did the descendants of the former tobacco slaves see one penny? Oh, Hell no!

I didn't say reparations, since that would mean that SOMEBODY was actually SORRY for centuries of unpaid labor. but, this country would rather gas African Americans Nazi-style than pay one penny for the hundreds of years of chattel slavery. Nooo ain't nobody sorry for JACK!

In the Old Dominion Virginia in 1620 the first Africans were sold to the English by the Dutch. Tobacco became the most profitable agricultural product in the Virginia colony without which, the colony would have failed. In fact they paid each other in TOBACCO instead of money in Colonial Virginia. Slaves were often bought and sold for plantation work from slave blocks, in front of taverns and at courthouses and stores in Spotsylvania and Stafford.


Do you know any history of the tobacco industry, the original thirteen colonies and slavery? You can look at the nation's founders like the Virginia tobacco slavers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson they are like a tree while the slavery is the root system that feeds the tree and sustains its life. Slavery was the sine qua non to America's prosperity.


Watch the video: The Process of Making Cigars - How traditional Cigar is made - Amazing Production Process (August 2022).