These 7 Rare Photos Show Virginia’s Tobacco History Like Never Before

The history of Virginia’s tobacco industry is equal parts extensive and complicated. On the one hand, the crop helped fuel the state’s economy for several years, as hard-working individuals labored over its cultivation. John Rolfe himself began the tobacco industry in 1612, turning the “golden leaf” into the state’s most profitable crop. And on the other hand, the tobacco was grown by slaves who were subject to cruel conditions and were never compensated. And then, of course, there’s the matter of the health risks associated with the industry and its products. Nevertheless, this unique plant has played a major role over the course of Virginia’s history and these photographs provide us with an important insight.

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