TOBACCO IN COLONIAL VIRGINIA

"The Sovereign Remedy"

 

By Melvin Herndon

 

Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation
Williamsburg, Virginia
 

COPYRIGHT©
VIRGINIA 350TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
CORPORATION, WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA

Jamestown 350th Anniversary
Historical Booklet, Number 20

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Tobacco was probably first brought to the shores of England from Florida by Sir John Hawkins in 1565. Englishmen were growing it by the 1570's, and after the return of the daring Sir Francis Drake to England with a large quantity of tobacco captured in the West Indies in 1586, the use of tobacco in England was increased substantially. By 1604 its consumption had become so extensive as to lead to the publication of King James' Counter Blast, condemning the use of tobacco; nevertheless, six years later the amount brought into Great Britain was valued at £60,000.

Some of the colonists were probably acquainted with tobacco before they landed at Jamestown and found the Indians cultivating and using it under the name of uppowoc or apooke. However, it was not until 1612 that its cultivation began among the English settlers, even in small patches. Previously their attention had been centered entirely on products that could be used for food. Captain John Smith wrote that none of the native crops were planted at first, not even tobacco...................

 

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