African Tobacco and Cotton Workers in Colonial British America
This chapter examines cash crop production, particularly of cotton and tobacco. Though most closely associated with the antebellum South, cotton took root in colonial Virginia, South Carolina, Barbados, Jamaica, and other West Indian islands, and it was grown for either domestic use or export. Furthermore, tobacco, most well known as a Chesapeake crop, was also raised in Barbados and Jamaica during the seventeenth century. The chapter asserts that Africans adopted tobacco as a garden crop in Africa, arguing that Africans drew upon their experience with the crop to foster Anglo-American tobacco fields. This chapter also looks at cotton production in the British American colonies. It shows that cotton was a central fiber in West African material life and that West Africans drew on their experience with it to play an important role in raising cotton on British American plantations.
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