Virginia History 101: Tobacco, the First Cash Crop

Susan Kern

Susan Kern

Regular listeners of our podcasts might know Rick Britton. He’s a historian and cartographer and a frequent guest on WINA’s Charlottesville Right Now with Coy Barefoot. Rick also designs and hosts Virginia history programs for the Charlottesville Senior Center.

In the fall of 2010, the Senior Center offered one of Rick’s programs entitled “Virginia History 101.” Running from October 7th through November 18th, this six-session lecture series was designed for those interested in Virginia’s fascinating early history. The series focused on some of the big topics that dominated the Old Dominion’s first two centuries, including, Native Virginians, Tobacco, Slavery, the Revolution, George Washington’s Presidency, and Jeffersonian Architecture. The series was followed with a travel session where participants experienced Virginia history first hand.

On October 12, 2010, Susan Kern presented “Tobacco, The First Cash Crop.” Ms. Kern is a visiting assistant professor in William & Mary’s Lyon G. Tyler Department of History. Throughout Virginia’s early history, the powers that be attempted to diversify the state’s economy, but tobacco, the evil weed, reigned supreme. Tobacco profits insured that Virginia would flourish. Tobacco profits bought trade goods from England, paid local tithes and taxes, and purchased more land and more slaves for its further cultivation.

This is the second in a six part series for 2010.

Click here to listen to all six lectures in this series:

* December 2, 2010 – The Monacan Nation – Rick Britton
* December 9, 2010 – Tobacco, The First Cash Crop – Susan Kern
* December 16, 2010 – Foodways of the Enslaved – Leni Sorensen
* December 23, 2010 – The Yorktown Campaign – Ed Lengel
* December 30, 2010 – Washington’s Presidency – David Hoth
* January 6, 2011- Architecture in the Jeffersonian Period – Ed Lay