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First Tobacco Shipment (John Rolfe)

AE Curator Jul 16
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No one knows where John Rolfe planted Virginia’s first commercially viable tobacco about 1612. Most likely it happened here at Bermuda Hundred or somewhere near Jamestown. Tradition from the 1850s holds that it took place near Henrico County’s Varina. Regardless, Rolfe’s use of milder varieties from South America found an eager audience in the nicotine crazed-English market. Virginia’s floundering economy suddenly found success as settlers began planting tobacco, which required expanded labor in the form of indentured servants and later enslaved Africans.

Location: Chester
Image: Library of Virginia

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