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A Golden WeedTobacco and Environment in the Piedmont South$
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Drew A Swanson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300191165

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300191165.001.0001

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On the Back of Tobacco

On the Back of Tobacco

Sowing the Seeds of a Tobacco Culture

(p.16) One On the Back of Tobacco
A Golden Weed

James C. Scott

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the opening of southern Virginia Piedmont and the adjoining reaches of North Carolina to Euro-American settlement, and how tobacco shaped these districts from their earliest days. Over the course of the century, planters, farmers, and slaves built a rural landscape which centered on the cultivation of fire-cured (or dark) tobacco—the traditional Chesapeake crop that had served as a staple since the early days of Jamestown. This landscape was the product of an existing tobacco culture transported from the coastal plain of eastern Virginia and adapted to the Piedmont environment, and it would shape regional farmers' adoption of a new staple beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. The chapter also examines the cultivation of dark tobacco, which laid a foundation for the bright tobacco culture that would sweep the region before the Civil War.

Keywords:   tobacco farming, Virginia Piedmont, North Carolina, Euro-America settlement, dark tobacco

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