Tobacco and Pocahontas - History

Tobacco and Pocahontas - History

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The colonists had not succeeded in sending back the gold or other items that merchants who had sponsored the colony had expected. The economic health of the colony, however was saved by John Rolf. He arrived in 1609. In 1612, he successfully combined a locally grown tobacco plant, with a variety from the West Indies that was sweeter. The new combination was an instant success. In 1614, Rolf began shipping his tobacco to England. His first shipment was for 2,600 pounds. Within three years the shipments rose to 20,000 pounds. Settlers started growing tobacco in every corner.

Problems continued, however, with the Native Americans. In 1613, during a raid, a member of the colony captured Pocahontas- the favorite daughter of the Indian chief Powhatan. The colonists decided to hold her hostage to insure the Native Americans would not attack. Pocahontas turned out to be a willing captive and became friends with the colonists. John Rolf, who had lost his family on the passage over to Jamestown, fell in love with Pocahontas. Smith requested permission to marry her. Their wedding ended the hostilities between the colony and the Indians.



Pocahontas ( US: / ˌ p oʊ k ə ˈ h ɒ n t ə s / , UK: / ˌ p ɒ k -/ born Amonute, known as Matoaka, c. 1596 – March 1617) was a Native American [2] [3] [4] woman, belonging to the Powhatan People, notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. She was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief [2] of a network of tributary tribes in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia.

Pocahontas was captured and held for ransom by the Colonists during hostilities in 1613. During her captivity, she was encouraged to convert to Christianity and was baptized under the name Rebecca. She married tobacco planter John Rolfe in April 1614 aged about 17 or 18, and she bore their son Thomas Rolfe in January 1615. [1]

In 1616, the Rolfes travelled to London where Pocahontas was presented to English society as an example of the "civilized savage" in hopes of stimulating investment in the Jamestown settlement. On this trip she may have met Squanto, a Patuxet Indian from New England. [5] She became something of a celebrity, was elegantly fêted, and attended a masque at Whitehall Palace. In 1617, the Rolfes set sail for Virginia, but Pocahontas died at Gravesend of unknown causes, aged 20 or 21. She was buried in St George's Church, Gravesend, in England, but her grave's exact location is unknown because the church was rebuilt after a fire destroyed it. [1]

Numerous places, landmarks, and products in the United States have been named after Pocahontas. Her story has been romanticized over the years, with some aspects which are probably fictional. Many of the stories told about her by John Smith have been contested by her documented descendants. [6] She is a subject of art, literature, and film, and many famous people have claimed to be among her descendants through her son, including members of the First Families of Virginia, First Lady Edith Wilson, American Western actor Glenn Strange, and astronomer Percival Lowell. [7]

2. Myth 2: Pocahontas saved John Smith’s life.

Painting depicting Pocahontas “saving” John Smith’s life, at the Richmond, Virginia, Court Annex. (Credit: Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

In 1607, not long after arriving in Jamestown, Smith was captured by Wahunsenaca’s forces and kept prisoner for a few weeks. According to Smith, his captors then held a ceremony at which they were on the verge of clubbing him to death when Pocahontas threw herself across his body and saved his life. This story has since been repeated endlessly and become the main component of the Pocahontas legend. Smith still has his defenders, but most historians doubt the veracity of his claim. “No serious scholar believes that anymore,” Townsend tells HISTORY. “It doesn’t ring true to Algonquian culture.” She and others emphasize, for example, that the Algonquians never would have killed a prisoner of war in that way—they would have burned or tortured him to death instead𠅊nd that Wahunsenaca never would have indulged his daughter’s wishes in such a circumstance. “They wouldn’t stop just because a little girl says, ‘Stop, I like him,’” Townsend says. Moreover, as a child of 10 or 11, Pocahontas probably wouldn’t have been allowed to attend such a ceremony in the first place.

Some historians hypothesize that Smith misinterpreted the ceremony, and that Wahunsenaca’s true intent was to adopt him into the community and make him a sub-chief (while establishing authority over him). Others, however, think Smith fabricated the story outright. They point out that he never mentioned the Pocahontas rescue in his first few accounts of Virginia, instead waiting until 1624�ter Wahunsenaca, Rolfe and Pocahontas herself were already dead.

The fact that Smith, a notorious braggart, wrote of similarly being saved by other beautiful women has also sown doubts. “There is no way Powhatan was trying to kill him,” says Angela “Silver Star” Daniel, president of the Foundation for American Heritage Voices and co-author of “The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History.” “If anyone was going to kill John Smith, it was his English comrades,” Daniel adds, pointing out that he was arrested for mutiny on the voyage over to Jamestown, that he was sentenced to hang soon after for a separate incident and that he was forced to return to England in 1609 following a mysterious gunpowder accident.


The English word tobacco originates from the Spanish and Portuguese word "tabaco". The precise origin of this word is disputed, but it is generally thought to have derived, at least in part, from Taíno, the Arawakan language of the Caribbean. In Taíno, it was said to mean either a roll of tobacco leaves (according to Bartolomé de las Casas, 1552), or to tabago, a kind of L-shaped pipe used for sniffing tobacco smoke (according to Oviedo, with the leaves themselves being referred to as cohiba). [5] [6]

However, perhaps coincidentally, similar words in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian were used from 1410 for certain medicinal herbs. These probably derived from the Arabic طُبّاق ‎ ṭubbāq (also طُباق ‎ ṭubāq), a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, referring to various herbs. [7] [8]

Traditional use Edit

Tobacco has long been used in the Americas, with some cultivation sites in Mexico dating back to 1400–1000 BCE. [9] Many Native American tribes traditionally grow and use tobacco. Historically, people from the Northeast Woodlands cultures have carried tobacco in pouches as a readily accepted trade item. It was smoked both socially and ceremonially, such as to seal a peace treaty or trade agreement. [10] [11] In some Native cultures, tobacco is seen as a gift from the Creator, with the ceremonial tobacco smoke carrying one's thoughts and prayers to the Creator. [12]

Popularization Edit

Following the arrival of the Europeans to the Americas, tobacco became increasingly popular as a trade item. Hernández de Boncalo, Spanish chronicler of the Indies, was the first European to bring tobacco seeds to the Old World in 1559 following orders of King Philip II of Spain. These seeds were planted in the outskirts of Toledo, more specifically in an area known as "Los Cigarrales" named after the continuous plagues of cicadas (cigarras in Spanish). Before the development of the lighter Virginia and white burley strains of tobacco, the smoke was too harsh to be inhaled. Small quantities were smoked at a time, using a pipe like the midwakh or kiseru, or newly invented waterpipes such as the bong or the hookah (see thuốc lào for a modern continuance of this practice). Tobacco became so popular that the English colony of Jamestown used it as currency and began exporting it as a cash crop tobacco is often credited as being the export that saved Virginia from ruin. [13]

The alleged benefits of tobacco also contributed to its success. The astronomer Thomas Harriot, who accompanied Sir Richard Grenville on his 1585 expedition to Roanoke Island, thought that the plant "openeth all the pores and passages of the body" so that the bodies of the natives "are notably preserved in health, and know not many grievous diseases, wherewithal we in England are often times afflicted." [14]

Production of tobacco for smoking, chewing, and snuffing became a major industry in Europe and its colonies by 1700. [15] [16]

Tobacco has been a major cash crop in Cuba and in other parts of the Caribbean since the 18th century. Cuban cigars are world-famous. [17]

In the late 19th century, cigarettes became popular. James Bonsack invented a machine to automate cigarette production. This increase in production allowed tremendous growth in the tobacco industry until the health revelations of the late 20th century. [18] [19]

Contemporary Edit

Following the scientific revelations of the mid-20th century, tobacco was condemned as a health hazard, and eventually became recognized as a cause of cancer, as well as other respiratory and circulatory diseases. In the United States, this led to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which settled the many lawsuits by the U.S. states in exchange for a combination of yearly payments to the states and voluntary restrictions on advertising and marketing of tobacco products. [ citation needed ]

In the 1970s, Brown & Williamson cross-bred a strain of tobacco to produce Y1, a strain containing an unusually high nicotine content, nearly doubling from 3.2-3.5% to 6.5%. In the 1990s, this prompted the Food and Drug Administration to allege that tobacco companies were intentionally manipulating the nicotine content of cigarettes. [ citation needed ]

The desire of many addicted smokers to quit has led to the development of tobacco cessation products. [20]

In 2003, in response to growth of tobacco use in developing countries, the World Health Organization [21] successfully rallied 168 countries to sign the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The convention is designed to push for effective legislation and enforcement in all countries to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco. [22]

Between 2019 and 2021, concerns about increased COVID-19 health risks due to tobacco consumption facilitated smoking reduction and cessation. [23]

Nicotiana Edit

Many species of tobacco are in the genus of herbs Nicotiana. It is part of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) indigenous to North and South America, Australia, south west Africa, and the South Pacific. [24]

Most nightshades contain varying amounts of nicotine, a powerful neurotoxin to insects. However, tobaccos tend to contain a much higher concentration of nicotine than the others. Unlike many other Solanaceae species, they do not contain tropane alkaloids, which are often poisonous to humans and other animals.

Despite containing enough nicotine and other compounds such as germacrene and anabasine and other piperidine alkaloids (varying between species) to deter most herbivores, [25] a number of such animals have evolved the ability to feed on Nicotiana species without being harmed. Nonetheless, tobacco is unpalatable to many species due to its other attributes. For example, although the cabbage looper is a generalist pest, tobacco's gummosis and trichomes can harm early larvae survival. [26] As a result, some tobacco plants (chiefly N. glauca) have become established as invasive weeds in some places.

Types Edit

The types of tobacco include:

    is cured by smoke from open fires. In the United States, it is grown in northern middle Tennessee, central Kentucky, and Virginia. Fire-cured tobacco grown in Kentucky and Tennessee is used in some chewing tobaccos, moist snuff, some cigarettes, and as a condiment in pipe tobacco blends. Another fire-cured tobacco is Latakia, which is produced from oriental varieties of N. tabacum. The leaves are cured and smoked over smoldering fires of local hardwoods and aromatic shrubs in Cyprus and Syria. is commonly known as "Virginia tobacco", often regardless of the state where it is planted. Prior to the American Civil War, most tobacco grown in the US was fire-cured dark-leaf. Sometime after the War of 1812, demand for a milder, lighter, more aromatic tobacco arose. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland all innovated with milder varieties of the tobacco plant. Farmers discovered that Bright leaf tobacco needs thin, starved soil, and those who could not grow other crops found that they could grow tobacco. Confederate soldiers traded it with each other and Union soldiers, and developed quite a taste for it. At the end of the war, the soldiers went home and a national market had developed for the local crop. is an air-cured tobacco used primarily for cigarette production. In the U.S., burley tobacco plants are started from pelletized seeds placed in polystyrene trays floated on a bed of fertilized water in March or April. is more a process of curing and a method of cutting tobacco than a type. The processing and the cut are used to bring out the natural sweet taste in the tobacco. Cavendish can be produced from any tobacco type, but is usually one of, or a blend of Kentucky, Virginia, and burley, and is most commonly used for pipe tobacco and cigars. is primarily used in the making of cigars. It was, by most accounts, one of the original Cuban tobaccos that emerged around the time of Columbus. is a tobacco originally grown in Iran, mixed with leaves, bark, and herbs for smoking in a midwakh. is a sun-cured, highly aromatic, small-leafed variety (Nicotiana tabacum) grown in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia. Originally grown in regions historically part of the Ottoman Empire, it is also known as "oriental". Many of the early brands of cigarettes were made mostly or entirely of Turkish tobacco today, its main use is in blends of pipe and especially cigarette tobacco (a typical American cigarette is a blend of bright Virginia, burley, and Turkish). was developed in 1824 through the technique of pressure-fermentation of local tobacco by a farmer, Pierre Chenet. Considered the truffle of pipe tobaccos, it is used as a component in many blended pipe tobaccos, but is too strong to be smoked pure. At one time, the freshly moist Perique was also chewed, but none is now sold for this purpose. It is typically blended with pure Virginia to lend spice, strength, and coolness to the blend. is cultivated in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Early Connecticut colonists acquired from the Native Americans the habit of smoking tobacco in pipes, and began cultivating the plant commercially, though the Puritans referred to it as the "evil weed". The Connecticut shade industry has weathered some major catastrophes, including a devastating hailstorm in 1929, and an epidemic of brown spot fungus in 2000, but is now in danger of disappearing altogether, given the increase in the value of land. air-cured leaf was found to be more mild than other types of tobacco. In 1865, George Webb of Brown County, Ohio planted red burley seeds he had purchased, and found a few of the seedlings had a whitish, sickly look, which became white burley. is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of South America. Its botanical name is Nicotiana rustica.

Cultivation Edit

Tobacco is cultivated similarly to other agricultural products. Seeds were at first quickly scattered onto the soil. However, young plants came under increasing attack from flea beetles (Epitrix cucumeris or E. pubescens), which caused destruction of half the tobacco crops in United States in 1876. By 1890, successful experiments were conducted that placed the plant in a frame covered by thin cotton fabric. Today, tobacco seeds are sown in cold frames or hotbeds, as their germination is activated by light. [27] In the United States, tobacco is often fertilized with the mineral apatite, which partially starves the plant of nitrogen, to produce a more desired flavor.

After the plants are about 8 inches (20 cm) tall, they are transplanted into the fields. Farmers used to have to wait for rainy weather to plant. A hole is created in the tilled earth with a tobacco peg, either a curved wooden tool or deer antler. After making two holes to the right and left, the planter would move forward two feet, select plants from his/her bag, and repeat. Various mechanical tobacco planters like Bemis, New Idea Setter, and New Holland Transplanter were invented in the late 19th and 20th centuries to automate the process: making the hole, watering it, guiding the plant in — all in one motion. [28]

Tobacco is cultivated annually, and can be harvested in several ways. In the oldest method, still used today, the entire plant is harvested at once by cutting off the stalk at the ground with a tobacco knife it is then speared onto sticks, four to six plants a stick, and hung in a curing barn. In the 19th century, bright tobacco began to be harvested by pulling individual leaves off the stalk as they ripened. The leaves ripen from the ground upwards, so a field of tobacco harvested in this manner entails the serial harvest of a number of "primings", beginning with the volado leaves near the ground, working to the seco leaves in the middle of the plant, and finishing with the potent ligero leaves at the top. Before harvesting, the crop must be topped when the pink flowers develop. Topping always refers to the removal of the tobacco flower before the leaves are systematically harvested. As the industrial revolution took hold, the harvesting wagons which were used to transport leaves were equipped with man-powered stringers, an apparatus that used twine to attach leaves to a pole. In modern times, large fields are harvested mechanically, although topping the flower and in some cases the plucking of immature leaves is still done by hand.

In the U.S., North Carolina and Kentucky are the leaders in tobacco production, followed by Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. [29]

Curing Edit

Curing and subsequent aging allow for the slow oxidation and degradation of carotenoids in tobacco leaf. This produces certain compounds in the tobacco leaves and gives a sweet hay, tea, rose oil, or fruity aromatic flavor that contributes to the "smoothness" of the smoke. Starch is converted to sugar, which glycates protein, and is oxidized into advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), a caramelization process that also adds flavor. Inhalation of these AGEs in tobacco smoke contributes to atherosclerosis and cancer. [30] Levels of AGEs are dependent on the curing method used.

Tobacco can be cured through several methods, including:

  • Air-cured tobacco is hung in well-ventilated barns and allowed to dry over a period of four to eight weeks. Air-cured tobacco is low in sugar, which gives the tobacco smoke a light, mild flavor, and high in nicotine. Cigar and burley tobaccos are 'dark' air-cured. [31]
  • Fire-cured tobacco is hung in large barns where fires of hardwoods are kept on continuous or intermittent low smoulder, and takes between three days and ten weeks, depending on the process and the tobacco. Fire curing produces a tobacco low in sugar and high in nicotine. Pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff are fire-cured.
  • Flue-cured tobacco was originally strung onto tobacco sticks, which were hung from tier poles in curing barns (Aus: kilns, also traditionally called 'oasts'). These barns have flues run from externally fed fire boxes, heat-curing the tobacco without exposing it to smoke, slowly raising the temperature over the course of the curing. The process generally takes about a week. This method produces cigarette tobacco that is high in sugar and has medium to high levels of nicotine. Most cigarettes incorporate flue-cured tobacco, which produces a milder, more inhalable smoke. It is estimated that 1 tree is cut to flue-cure every 300 cigarettes, resulting in serious environmental consequences. [32]
  • Sun-cured tobacco dries uncovered in the sun. This method is used in Turkey, Greece, and other Mediterranean countries to produce oriental tobacco. Sun-cured tobacco is low in sugar and nicotine and is used in cigarettes.

Some tobaccos go through a second stage of curing, known as fermenting or sweating. [33] Cavendish undergoes fermentation pressed in a casing solution containing sugar and/or flavoring. [34]

Global production Edit

Trends Edit

Production of tobacco leaf increased by 40% between 1971, when 4.2 million tons of leaf were produced, and 1997, when 5.9 million tons of leaf were produced. [36] According to the Food and Agriculture organization of the UN, tobacco leaf production was expected to hit 7.1 million tons by 2010. This number is a bit lower than the record-high production of 1992, when 7.5 million tons of leaf were produced. [37] The production growth was almost entirely due to increased productivity by developing nations, where production increased by 128%. [38] During that same time, production in developed countries actually decreased. [37] China's increase in tobacco production was the single biggest factor in the increase in world production. China's share of the world market increased from 17% in 1971 to 47% in 1997. [36] This growth can be partially explained by the existence of a low import tariff on foreign tobacco entering China. While this tariff has been reduced from 66% in 1999 to 10% in 2004, [39] it still has led to local, Chinese cigarettes being preferred over foreign cigarettes because of their lower cost.

Major producers Edit

Top tobacco producers, 2017 [40]
Country Production (tonnes) Note
China 2,391,000
Brazil 880,881
India 799,960 F
United States 322,120
Zimbabwe 181,643 F
Indonesia 152,319
Zambia 131,509 F
Pakistan 117,750 F
Argentina 117,154
Tanzania 104,471 F
World 6,501,646 A
No note = official figure, F = FAO Estimate, A = Aggregate (may include official, semiofficial or estimates).

Every year, about 6.7 million tons of tobacco are produced throughout the world. The top producers of tobacco are China (39.6%), India (8.3%), Brazil (7.0%) and the United States (4.6%). [41]

China Edit

Around the peak of global tobacco production, 20 million rural Chinese households were producing tobacco on 2.1 million hectares of land. [42] While it is the major crop for millions of Chinese farmers, growing tobacco is not as profitable as cotton or sugarcane, because the Chinese government sets the market price. While this price is guaranteed, it is lower than the natural market price, because of the lack of market risk. To further control tobacco in their borders, China founded a State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) in 1982. The STMA controls tobacco production, marketing, imports, and exports, and contributes 12% to the nation's national income. [43] As noted above, despite the income generated for the state by profits from state-owned tobacco companies and the taxes paid by companies and retailers, China's government has acted to reduce tobacco use. [44]

India Edit

India's Tobacco Board is headquartered in Guntur in the state of Andhra Pradesh. [45] India has 96,865 registered tobacco farmers [46] and many more who are not registered. In 2010, 3,120 tobacco product manufacturing facilities were operating in all of India. [47] Around 0.25% of India's cultivated land is used for tobacco production. [48]

Since 1947, the Indian government has supported growth in the tobacco industry. India has seven tobacco research centers, located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Mysore, and West Bengal houses the core research institute.

Brazil Edit

In Brazil, around 135,000 family farmers cite tobacco production as their main economic activity. [42] Tobacco has never exceeded 0.7% of the country's total cultivated area. [49] In the southern regions of Brazil, Virginia, and Amarelinho, flue-cured tobacco, as well as burley and Galpão Comum air-cured tobacco, are produced. These types of tobacco are used for cigarettes. In the northeast, darker, air- and sun-cured tobacco is grown. These types of tobacco are used for cigars, twists, and dark cigarettes. [49] Brazil's government has made attempts to reduce the production of tobacco but has not had a successful systematic antitobacco farming initiative. Brazil's government, however, provides small loans for family farms, including those that grow tobacco, through the Programa Nacional de Fortalecimento da Agricultura Familiar. [50]

Problems in production Edit

Child labor Edit

The International Labour Office reported that the most child-laborers work in agriculture, which is one of the most hazardous types of work. [51] [ failed verification – see discussion] The tobacco industry houses some of these working children. Use of children is widespread on farms in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. [52] While some of these children work with their families on small, family-owned farms, others work on large plantations. In late 2009, reports were released by the London-based human-rights group Plan International, claiming that child labor was common on Malawi (producer of 1.8% of the world's tobacco [36] ) tobacco farms. The organization interviewed 44 teens, who worked full-time on farms during the 2007-8 growing season. The child-laborers complained of low pay and long hours, as well as physical and sexual abuse by their supervisors. [53] They also reported suffering from Green tobacco sickness, a form of nicotine poisoning. When wet leaves are handled, nicotine from the leaves gets absorbed in the skin and causes nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Children were exposed to levels of nicotine equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes, just through direct contact with tobacco leaves. This level of nicotine in children can permanently alter brain structure and function. [51] [ failed verification – see discussion]

Economy Edit

Major tobacco companies have encouraged global tobacco production. Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco each own or lease tobacco-manufacturing facilities in at least 50 countries and buy crude tobacco leaf from at least 12 more countries. [54] This encouragement, along with government subsidies, has led to a glut in the tobacco market. This surplus has resulted in lower prices, which are devastating to small-scale tobacco farmers. According to the World Bank, between 1985 and 2000, the inflation-adjusted price of tobacco dropped 37%. [55] Tobacco is the most widely smuggled legal product. [56]

Environment Edit

Tobacco production requires the use of large amounts of pesticides. Tobacco companies recommend up to 16 separate applications of pesticides just in the period between planting the seeds in greenhouses and transplanting the young plants to the field. [57] Pesticide use has been worsened by the desire to produce larger crops in less time because of the decreasing market value of tobacco. Pesticides often harm tobacco farmers because they are unaware of the health effects and the proper safety protocol for working with pesticides. These pesticides, as well as fertilizers, end up in the soil, waterways, and the food chain. [58] Coupled with child labor, pesticides pose an even greater threat. Early exposure to pesticides may increase a child's lifelong cancer risk, as well as harm his or her nervous and immune systems. [59]

As with all crops, tobacco crops extract nutrients (such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium) from soil, decreasing its fertility. [60]

Furthermore, the wood used to cure tobacco in some places leads to deforestation. While some big tobacco producers such as China and the United States have access to petroleum, coal, and natural gas, which can be used as alternatives to wood, most developing countries still rely on wood in the curing process. [60] Brazil alone uses the wood of 60 million trees per year for curing, packaging, and rolling cigarettes. [57]

In 2017 WHO released a study on the environmental effects of tobacco. [61]

Research Edit

Several tobacco plants have been used as model organisms in genetics. Tobacco BY-2 cells, derived from N. tabacum cultivar 'Bright Yellow-2', are among the most important research tools in plant cytology. [62] Tobacco has played a pioneering role in callus culture research and the elucidation of the mechanism by which kinetin works, laying the groundwork for modern agricultural biotechnology. The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1982, using Agrobacterium tumefaciens to create an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. [63] This research laid the groundwork for all genetically modified crops. [64]

Genetic modification Edit

Because of its importance as a research tool, transgenic tobacco was the first GM crop to be tested in field trials, in the United States and France in 1986 China became the first country in the world to approve commercial planting of a GM crop in 1993, which was tobacco. [65]

Field trials Edit

Many varieties of transgenic tobacco have been intensively tested in field trials. Agronomic traits such as resistance to pathogens (viruses, particularly to the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) fungi bacteria and nematodes) weed management via herbicide tolerance resistance against insect pests resistance to drought and cold and production of useful products such as pharmaceuticals and use of GM plants for bioremediation, have all been tested in over 400 field trials using tobacco. [66]

Production Edit

Currently, only the US is producing GM tobacco. [65] [66] The Chinese virus-resistant tobacco was withdrawn from the market in China in 1997. [67] : 3 From 2002 to 2010, cigarettes made with GM tobacco with reduced nicotine content were available in the US under the market name Quest. [66] [68]

Tobacco is consumed in many forms and through a number of different methods. Some examples are:

  • Beedi are thin, often flavoured cigarettes from India made of tobacco wrapped in a tendu leaf, and secured with coloured thread at one end.
  • Chewing tobacco is the oldest way of consuming tobacco leaves. It is consumed orally, in two forms: through sweetened strands ("chew" or "chaw"), or in a shredded form ("dip"). When consuming the long, sweetened strands, the tobacco is lightly chewed and compacted into a ball. When consuming the shredded tobacco, small amounts are placed at the bottom lip, between the gum and the teeth, where it is gently compacted, thus it can often be called dipping tobacco. Both methods stimulate the salivary glands, which led to the development of the spittoon.
  • Cigars are tightly rolled bundles of dried and fermented tobacco, which are ignited so their smoke may be drawn into the smokers' mouths.
  • Cigarettes are a product consumed through inhalation of smoke and manufactured from cured and finely cut tobacco leaves and reconstituted tobacco, often combined with other additives, then rolled into a paper cylinder.
  • Creamy snuff is tobacco paste, consisting of tobacco, clove oil, glycerin, spearmint, menthol, and camphor, and sold in a toothpaste tube. It is marketed mainly to women in India, and is known by the brand names Ipco (made by Asha Industries), Denobac, Tona, and Ganesh. It is locally known as mishri in some parts of Maharashtra.
  • Dipping tobaccos are a form of smokeless tobacco. Dip is occasionally referred to as "chew", and because of this, it is commonly confused with chewing tobacco, which encompasses a wider range of products. A small clump of dip is 'pinched' out of the tin and placed between the lower or upper lip and gums. Some brands, as with snus, are portioned in small, porous pouches for less mess.
  • Gutka is a preparation of crushed betel nut, tobacco, and sweet or savory flavorings. It is manufactured in India and exported to a few other countries. A mild stimulant, it is sold across India in small, individual-sized packets.
  • Heat-not-burn products heat rather than burn tobacco to generate an aerosol that contains nicotine.
  • Dokha is a middle eastern tobacco with high nicotine levels grown in parts of Oman and Hatta, which is smoked through a thin pipe called a medwakh. It is a form of tobacco which is dried up and ground and contains little to no additives excluding spices, fruits, or flowers to enhance smell and flavor.
  • Hookah is a single- or multistemmed (often glass-based) water pipe for smoking. Hookahs were first used in India and Persia [69] the hookah has gained immense popularity, especially in the Middle East. A hookah operates by water filtration and indirect heat. It can be used for smoking herbal fruits or moassel, a mixture of tobacco, flavouring, and honey or glycerin.
  • Kreteks are cigarettes made with a complex blend of tobacco, cloves, and a flavoring "sauce". They were first introduced in the 1880s in Kudus, Java, to deliver the medicinal eugenol of cloves to the lungs.
  • Roll-your-own, often called 'rollies' or 'roll-ups', are relatively popular in some European countries. These are prepared from loose tobacco, cigarette papers, and filters all bought separately. They are usually cheaper to make.
  • Snuff is a ground smokeless tobacco product, inhaled or "snuffed" through the nose. If referring specifically to the orally consumed moist snuff, see dipping tobacco.
  • Snus is a steam-pasteurized moist powdered tobacco product that is not fermented, and induces minimal salivation. It is consumed by placing it (loose or in little pouches) against the upper gums for an extended period of time. It is somewhat similar to dipping tobacco but does not require spitting and is significantly lower in TSNAs.
  • Tobacco edibles, often in the form of an infusion or a spice, have gained popularity in recent years.
  • Tobacco pipes typically consist of a small chamber (the bowl) for the combustion of the tobacco to be smoked and a thin stem (shank) that ends in a mouthpiece (the bit). Shredded pieces of tobacco are placed in the chamber and ignited.
  • Tobacco smoke enemas were employed by the indigenous peoples of North America to stimulate respiration, injecting the smoke with a rectal tube. [70][71][72][73] Later, in the 18th century, Europeans emulated the Americans. [74] Tobacco resuscitation kits consisting of a pair of bellows and a tube were provided by the Royal Humane Society of London and placed at various points along the Thames. [75]
  • Tobacco water is a traditional organicinsecticide used in domestic gardening. Tobacco dust can be used similarly. It is produced by boiling strong tobacco in water, or by steeping the tobacco in water for a longer period. When cooled, the mixture can be applied as a spray, or 'painted' on to the leaves of garden plants, where it kills insects. Tobacco is, however, banned from use as pesticide in certified organic production by the USDA's National Organic Program. [76]
  • Topical tobacco paste is sometimes used as a treatment for wasp, hornet, fire ant, scorpion, and bee stings. [77] An amount equivalent to the contents of a cigarette is mashed in a cup with about a half a teaspoon of water to make a paste that is then applied to the affected area.

Social Edit

Smoking in public was, for a long time, reserved for men, and when done by women was sometimes associated with promiscuity in Japan, during the Edo period, prostitutes and their clients often approached one another under the guise of offering a smoke. The same was true in 19th-century Europe. [78]

Following the American Civil War, the use of tobacco, primarily in cigars, became associated with masculinity and power. Today, tobacco use is often stigmatized this has spawned quitting associations and antismoking campaigns. [79] [80] Bhutan is the only country in the world where tobacco sales are illegal. [81] Due to its propensity for causing detumescence and erectile dysfunction, some studies have described tobacco as an anaphrodisiacal substance. [82]

Religion Edit

Christianity Edit

In Christian denominations of the conservative holiness movement, such as the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection and Evangelical Wesleyan Church, the use of tobacco and other drugs is prohibited [83] : 37 ¶42 of the 2014 Book of Discipline of the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection states: [83] [ page needed ]

In the judgment of The Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny Conference), the use of tobacco is a great evil, unbecoming a Christian, a waste of the Lord’s money, and a defilement of the body, which should be the temple of the Holy Ghost. We do, therefore, most earnestly require our members to refrain from its cultivation, manufacture, and sale, and to abstain from its use in all forms, for Jesus’ sake. We will not receive as members into our churches nor will we ordain or license to preach or to exhort, persons who use, cultivate, manufacture, or sell tobacco. Using tobacco by a member of a church or of the Conference after being received from this date (June 28, 1927) is a violation of the law of the church, and the offending party should be dealt with according to the judiciary rules. [83] : 44

Islam Edit

Sikhism Edit

Sikhism, a monotheistic religion from India, considers tobacco consumption as a taboo and very bad for health and spirituality. Initiated Sikhs are never to consume tobacco in any form. [ citation needed ]

Demographic Edit

Research on tobacco use is limited mainly to smoking, which has been studied more extensively than any other form of consumption. An estimated 1.1 billion people, and up to one-third of the adult population, use tobacco in some form. [84] Smoking is more prevalent among men [85] (however, the gender gap declines with age), [86] [87] the poor, and in transitional or developing countries. [88] A study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that in 2019 approximately one in four youths (23.0%) in the U.S. had used a tobacco product during the past 30 days. This represented approximately three in 10 high school students (31.2%) and approximately one in eight middle school students (12.5%). [89]

Rates of smoking continue to rise in developing countries, but have leveled off or declined in developed countries. [90] Smoking rates in the United States have dropped by half from 1965 to 2006, falling from 42% to 20.8% in adults. [91] In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year. [92]

Hazardous health effects of tobacco smoking Edit

Tobacco smoking harms health because of the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke, including carbon monoxide, cyanide, and carcinogens, which have been proven to cause heart and lung diseases and cancer. Thousands of different substances in cigarette smoke, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (such as benzopyrene), formaldehyde, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and phenols contribute to the harmful effects of smoking. [93]

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. [94] WHO estimates that tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 [95] and 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century. [96] Similarly, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide." [97] Due to these health consequences, it is estimated that a 10 hectare (approximately 24.7 acre) field of tobacco used for cigarettes causes 30 deaths per year – 10 from lung cancer and 20 from cigarette-induced diseases like cardiac arrest, gangrene, bladder cancer, mouth cancer, etc. [98]

The harms caused by inhaling tobacco smoke include diseases of the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema), and cancer (particularly cancers of the lungs, larynx, mouth, and pancreas). Cancer is caused by inhaling carcinogenic substances in tobacco smoke.

Inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke (which has been exhaled by a smoker) can cause lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. In the United States, about 3,000 adults die each year due to lung cancer from secondhand smoke exposure. Heart disease caused by secondhand smoke kills around 46,000 nonsmokers every year. [99]

In children, exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is associated with a higher incidence and severity of respiratory illnesses, middle ear disease, and asthma attacks. Each year in the United States, secondhand smoke exposure causes 24,500 infants to be born with low birthweight, 71,900 preterm births, 202,300 episodes of asthma, and 790,00 health care visits for ear infections. [100]

The addictive alkaloid nicotine is a stimulant, and popularly known as the most characteristic constituent of tobacco. In drug effect preference questionnaires, a rough indicator of addictive potential, nicotine scores almost as highly as opioids. [101] Users typically develop tolerance and dependence. [102] [103] Nicotine is known to produce conditioned place preference, a sign of psychological enforcement value. [104] In one medical study, tobacco's overall harm to user and self was determined at 3 percent below cocaine, and 13 percent above amphetamines, ranking 6th most harmful of the 20 drugs assessed. [105]

Polonium-210 is a radioactive trace contaminant of tobacco, providing additional explanation for the link between smoking and bronchial cancer. [106]

Economic Edit

Tobacco has a significant economic impact. The global tobacco market in 2010 was estimated at US$760 billion, excluding China. [107] Statistica estimates that in the U.S. alone, the tobacco industry has a market of US$121 billion, [108] despite the fact the CDC reports that US smoking rates are declining steadily. [109] In the US, the decline in the number of smokers, the end of the Tobacco Transition Payment Program in 2014, and competition from growers in other countries, made tobacco farming economics more challenging. [110]

Of the 1.22 billion smokers worldwide, 1 billion of them live in developing or transitional economies, and much of the disease burden and premature mortality attributable to tobacco use disproportionately affect the poor. [88] While smoking prevalence has declined in many developed countries, it remains high in others, and is increasing among women and in developing countries. Between one-fifth and two-thirds of men in most populations smoke. Women's smoking rates vary more widely but rarely equal male rates. [111]

In Indonesia, the lowest income group spends 15% of its total expenditures on tobacco. In Egypt, more than 10% of low-income household expenditure is on tobacco. The poorest 20% of households in Mexico spend 11% of their income on tobacco. [112]

Advertising Edit

The tobacco industry advertises its products through a variety of media, including sponsorship, particularly of sporting events. Because of the health risks of these products, this is now one of the most highly regulated forms of marketing. Some or all forms of tobacco advertising are banned in many countries. [ citation needed ]

John Rolfe

John Rolfe stepped into history in May 1609 when he boarded the Sea Venture, bound for Virginia. The Virginia Company, founded by investors, had financed and sponsored the English colony founded at Jamestown in May 1607. The Company expected the colonist to start industrial enterprises in Virginia that would return profits to the Company. The colonists in Virginia tried a number of different enterprises: silkmaking, glassmaking, lumber, sassafras, pitch and tar, and soap ashes, with no financial success. It was John Rolfe's experiments with tobacco that developed the first profitable export.

The Spaniards found the natives in the West Indies using the tobacco plant. They took seed to Europe where its use soon spread to other countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Sir Walter Raleigh is often credited with the introduction of tobacco to England. While in reality he may not have been responsible for its introduction, he did play an important role in the spread of tobacco use among the English. Spain and Portugal monopolized the European tobacco trade England imported tobacco from Spain. The English colonists did not like the type of tobacco the Virginia Indians grew. They preferred the fragrant sort that Spanish colonists were producing in the Caribbean, which they were selling in large quantities and at high prices to London merchants.

The Sea Venture was the flagship of a nine-ship convoy of 500 new settlers. By July the ships had reached the West Indies, where a hurricane struck them. The Sea Venture ran aground on a reef off the Bermudas, but the entire company of 150 safely reached shore in the ship's boats. The colonists found Bermuda to be a hospitable place with sufficient food. In the following months, they built two smaller ships from cedar trees and salvage. By May 1610 the two ships, aptly named the Patience and the Deliverance, were ready. The ships reached the Chesapeake Bay after ten days sailing. While on Bermuda, John Rolfe's wife had given birth to a daughter who was christened Bermuda, but the child died there. Rolfe's wife also died, probably soon after they reached Virginia.

John Rolfe is credited by Ralph Hamor, then Secretary of Virginia, with the experiment of planting the first tobacco seeds that he obtained from somewhere in the Caribbean, possibly from Trinidad. "I may not forget the gentleman, worthie of much commendations, which first tooke the pains to make triall thereof, his name Mr. John Rolfe, Anno Domini 1612, partly for the love he hath a long time borne unto it, and partly to raise commodity to the adventurers. " Rolfe gave some tobacco from his crop to friends "to make a triall of," and they agreed that the new leaf had "smoked pleasant, sweete and strong." The remainder of the crop was shipped to England, where it compared favorably with "Spanish" leaf.

At the same time Rolfe experimented with tobacco, other events transpired that profoundly affected the colony. Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, was kidnapped and brought to Jamestown to be traded for English prisoners and weapons that Powhatan held. The exchange never took place and Pocahontas was taken to the settlement at Henrico, where she learned English, converted to Christianity, was baptized, and was christened Rebecca. It was about this time that she presumably came to the attention of John Rolfe. Rolfe was a pious man who agonized for many weeks over the decision to marry a heathen. He composed a long, laborious letter to Governor Dale asking for permission to marry Pocahontas. The letter reflected Rolfe's dilemma. The tone suggests it was intended mainly for official records, but at some points Rolfe bared his true feelings. "It is Pocahontas," he wrote, "to whom my hearty and best thoughts are, and have been a long time so entangled, and enthralled in so intricate a labyrinth that I (could not) unwind myself thereout." The wedding took place in the spring of 1614. It resulted in peace with the Indians long enough for the settlers to develop and expand their colony and plant themselves permanently in the new land.

In 1616, Rolfe took his wife and infant son Thomas to England. Pocahontas died at Gravesend seven months later, just before returning to Virginia. A sad John Rolfe left his young son in the care of a guardian in England and returned to his adopted home. Upon his return to Virginia, he assumed more prominence in the colony. He became a councilor and sat as a member of the House of Burgesses. He married again to Jane Pearce, daughter of a colonist. He continued his efforts to improve the quality and quantity of Virginia tobacco. In 1617, tobacco exports to England totaled 20,000 pounds. The next year shipments more than doubled. Twelve years later, one and a half million pounds were exported. The first great American enterprise had been established.

John Rolfe died sometime in 1622. Although a third of the colony was killed in the Indian uprising of that year, it is not known how Rolfe died. In a life that held much personal tragedy, Rolfe gave the colony its economic base. His contributions allowed the English settlements to become permanent, thus solidifying the English presence in America and making possible the first steps toward the creation of the future United States.

Carrier, Lyman. Agriculture in Virginia 1607-1688.

Barbour, Phillip L. Pocahontas and Her World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970.

Billings, Warren M. The Old Dominion in the Seventeenth Century.

The Jamestown Foundation. The Story of John Rolfe.

Mapp, Jr., Alf J. The Virginia Experiment.

Research Library of Colonial America. Virginia, Four Personal Narratives.

Paula Gunn Allen's Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat (2003) and Linwood Custalow and Angela Daniels' The True Story of Pocahontas (2007) are the only book-length Native American versions of her life. And both tell a significantly different story than the one mainstream America is used to. For example, see the selected pertinent sections from The True Story below, especially those in which the authors consciously use the verbal formulas "according to Mattaponi sacred oral history" or "according to Mattaponi oral history" to authorize their account. Such verbal tags are comparable to the force of "as the Bible says" in White culture. Here is an example of a counter-narrative to the familiar American origin myth embodied in the Smith-Pocahontas story.

1) Mattaponi sacred oral history
In 1559 or 1560, a young Powhatan male in line to be chief – who later came to be called Don Luis – boarded a Spanish ship. The Spanish writings indicate that it was by mutual consent, with an agreement that the young male would be returned shortly. Mattaponi oral history does not say whether he was taken captive or if he went willingly. . . . Eventually, Luis was able to convince the Spanish to return him to his homeland in the early 1570s. . . . The Spanish threat influenced Wahunsenaca [Powhatan] to both build alliances with the regional tribes, enlarging the Powhatan nation, and to make friends with the English when they arrived in 1607. According to Mattaponi sacred oral history, Luis and Wahunsenaca were the same person. . . . Consequently, when the English arrived with the weaponry equivalent to the Spanish, Wahunsenaca desired to have them as an allied tribe within the Powhatan nation. (16-17)

2) Friendly Native Americans
According to Mattaponi sacred oral history, Wahunsenaca truly liked Smith. He offered Smith a position to be a werowance of the English colonists, to be the leader of the English within the Powhatan nation. In addition, Wahunsenaca told Smith that the English could live and settle in a more habitable place in the Powhatan nation than on Jamestown Island. (18)

3) No need for a rescue
Although Smith alleged years later that Pocahontas saved his life during a four-day ceremony in the process of his being made a Powhatan werowance, his life was never in danger. His life did not need saving. Why would the Powhatan want to kill a person they were initiating to be a werowance. By Smith's own admission, Wahunsenaca gave Smith his word that Smith would be released in four days. Smith's fears was either a figment of his own imagination or an embellishment to dramatize his narrative. (19)

4) Pocahontas not there anyway
The quiakros played an integral part in such a ceremony. Children, male or female, were not allowed to attend. . . . Pocahontas would not have been in the ceremony to throw herself on top of Smith to save him because the quiakros would not have allowed Pocahontas to be there. (19-20)

5) Wahunseneca freely released Smith
After being initiated as a werowance over the English colony, not only was Smith now considered a member of Powhatan society, but the entire English colony were considered members. . . . True to his word, released Smith after the four days transpired. (20-21)

6) Wahunseneca a busy leader
In January 1609, Smith made a detour during his rounds of securing food for the Jamestown fort by going to Werowocomoco. He arrived in the Powhatan capital village without giving prior notice. Powhatan carriers were sent out to notify Chief Powhatan Wahunsenaca. Wahunsenaca put aside what he was doing and returned to Werowocomoco. (Mattaponi oral history does not say precisely where he was at that time. Just as with the president today, there are numerous places where he could have been. He could have been away for business, such as meeting with other chiefs in another village. He could have been away hunting. Or he could have been away for spiritual renewal, such as going to the Uttamussac Temple.) (29)

7) Pocahontas could not have warned Smith
Once again, according to Mattaponi sacred oral history, Smith's claim of Pocahontas having saved – or, in this case, warned – him do not seem possible within the cultural standards of seventeenth-century Powhatan society. Pocahontas warning Smith in the night implies that Pocahontas, a young girl, was capable of slipping out in the cold night past all adult supervision. According to Mattaponi sacred oral history, this is unlikely. Powhatan children were watched closely and learned discipline early in life. . . . Pocahontas, being the favorite daughter of Wahunsenaca, was watched even more closely than other children. (30-31)

8) Smith's life never threatened
Smith wrote that Wahunsenaca had put a death warrant on him. If this was so, why did Smith then travel deeper into Powhatan territory to the Pamunkey villages the next morning instead of returning to Jamestown? Either Smith was so confident in his ability to defend himself from the Powhatan or there was no reasonable threat to his life, which is the position of Mattaponi sacred oral history. The Powhatan were not trying to kill Smith. (31)

9) Wahunsenaca unaware of tensions among the English
In hindsight, knowing Mattaponi oral history, it is likely that the other English colonists were jealous of Smith's close and powerful relationship with the Powhatan paramount chief. Wahunsenaca was unaware of tensions among the English colonists and their disdain for Smith. Instead, Wahunsenaca and the quiakros had perceived Smith as the leader of the English. As such, making him the werowance (chief) of the English should not have been a problem however, the offer may have escalated political tensions between Smith and his countrymen. (40)

10) The story of Japazaw's betrayal of Pocahontas offensive
The long continuation of these implications [that Japazaw turned Pocahontas over to the English for a copper kettle] by popular media and scholars is deeply offensive to Powhatan descendants. It insinuates that the Potowomac valued material possessions over the love and commitment to their relatives and their paramount chief, that they were immoral. (51)

11) The English killed Pocahontas's husband
Mattaponi sacred oral history states that before Argall took sail, several of Argall's men returned to Pocahontas's home and killed her husband, Kocoum. They knew the location of Pocahontas's home because they had followed Japazaw's wife when she went to find Pocahontas. Taken by surprise, Kocoum was easily overcome. As the ship pulled out [Argall's], Pocahontas did not realize her husband had been murdered. Her son survived because as Pocahontas left with Japazaw's wife, Little Kocoum was handed over to the other women in the tribe. (51)

12) Pocahontas submitted to capture to save her people
Why didn't Pocahontas fight or resist? Instead of resisting, Pocahontas bent her will to her captors. She went along with them obediently because there was nothing else she could do. Our belief is that Pocahontas submitted to the English in order to protect her people. If she had behaved badly and resisted the English colonists, they might have taken their anger out on our people. Also, it was the Powhatan custom to respect all life, even the lives of those who sought ill toward our people. (56)

13) History silent on her conversion and baptism
Shortly after the staged ransom exchange, Pocahontas was converted to Christianity and was baptized. She was given the Christian name Rebecca. Mattaponi sacred oral history tells us very little about Pocahontas's time in captivity, her conversion to Christianity, her baptism and marriage. Was Pocahontas baptized in Jamestown or Henrico? Neither Mattaponi oral history nor scholarship knows. There is no indication that any Powhatan were present during her baptism. (58)

14) Pocahontas was brainwashed in captivity and did what she had to in order to survive
Mattaponi sacred oral history does not elaborate on whether Pocahontas truly converted to Christianity or not. In captivity, she was brainwashed. She was captured. She did not know where she was going or what was going to happen to her thus the best way out was to submit to her captors. However, there may have come a point in her captivity when she did not think she could get out. All of these factors played a part in Pocahontas's decision not to retaliate against her captors. Being a bright person, she would have known what to do to survive the situation. (59)

15) Pocahontas deeply depressed at time of marriage
Mattaponi sacred oral history does not put a great deal of emphasis on the details of the marriage between Pocahontas and Rolfe, which occurred in the spring on 1614. Instead, the Powhatan were more concerned with Pocahontas's well-being and safety. Among other things, what is known from Mattaponi oral history is that Pocahontas was deeply depressed. (61)

16) Pocahontas was raped repeatedly, possibly by more than one person
When Mattachanna and Uttamattamakin arrived at Jamestown, Pocahontas confided in Mattachanna that she had been raped. Mattaponi sacred oral history is very clear on this: Pocahontas was raped. It is possible that it had been done to her by more than one person and repeatedly. My grandfather and other teachers of Mattaponi oral history said that Pocahontas was raped. The possibility of being taken captive was a danger to beware of in Powhatan society, but rape was not tolerated. (62)

17) Pocahontas was moved in order to hide the pregnancy
Although scholars differ on where Pocahontas stayed during her months of captivity, whether in Jamestown or Henrico, we believe that Pocahontas was moved from Jamestown to Henrico in order to hide her advancing pregnancy. Mattaponi sacred oral history is very clear that Pocahontas was kept in Henrico during the majority of her time in captivity. Pocahontas was taken to live under the supervision of Reverend Alexander Whitaker, who lived upriver at the Henrico plantation located near present-day Richmond. Henrico was more spacious and secluded than Jamestown thus, fewer colonists would have noticed Pocahontas's pregnancy. In addition, Pocahontas was forced to wear English clothing to conceal her pregnancy. (63)

18) Married only after her child was born, Jamestown governor the possible father
Within one year of being held captive, by the spring of 1614 Pocahontas had been converted to Christianity, had been baptized, had given birth to a son of mixed blood, named Thomas, and had been married to the Englishman Rolfe. Mattaponi oral history is adamant that Thomas was born out of wedlock, prior to the marriage ceremony between Pocahontas and Rolfe. It is not known who Thomas's father was, but one likely candidate appears to be Sir Thomas Dale. (64)

19) Love of Rolfe doubtful
According to Mattaponi sacred oral history, the marriage between Pocahontas and Rolfe occurred at Jamestown. Although Pocahontas obviously submitted to the marriage, it is hard to say whether Pocahontas really loved Rolfe or not. Under the circumstances of Pocahontas's confinement, it is doubtful. The power differential was too great. She was not free to return to her people. She was not free to choose. She married Rolfe because she had just recently had a child by an Englishman. (65)

20) Wahunsenaca gave Pocahontas pearls as a wedding gift
Although Wahunsenaca did not attend the wedding, we know through sacred Mattaponi oral history that he gave Pocahontas a pearl necklace as her wedding gift. The pearls were obtained from the Chesapeake Bay oyster beds. The necklace was notable for the large size and fine quality of the pearls. Pearls of this size were rare, making them a suitable gift for a paramount chief's daughter. No mention of this necklace has been found in the English writings, but a portrait of Pocahontas wearing a pearl necklace used to hang in the governor's mansion in Richmond. (67)

21) Native Americans have knowledge of tobacco
Rolfe's problems in competing with the Spanish tobacco appeared to stem from lack of knowledge and care in curing the tobacco. According to Mattaponi sacred oral history, the Native people of the New World possessed the knowledge of how to cure and process this tobacco successfully. The Spanish gained this knowledge from the Native communities they had subdued. In the Powhatan society, it was the quiakros who possessed the knowledge of how to cure tobacco. (73)

22) Through tobacco and because of Pocahontas, the Powhatan saved the colony
The Powhatan actually saved the colony by sharing their knowledge of tobacco curing and management. This sharing of knowledge was directly linked to Wahunsenaca and his daughter, Pocahontas. It was directly related to Wahunsenaca because he had wanted to be friends, at peace, in alliance with the English from the beginning. . . . It was related directly to Pocahontas because she was held in such high favor because of her father. . . . The deep parental affection Wahunsenaca had for his daughter is always evident throughout Mattaponi sacred oral history. (76)

23) Pocahontas murdered by the English
Upon returning to England, Mattachanna and the high priest Uttamattamakin, together with other quiakros (priests) who had accompanied them on the journey, reported to Chief Powhatan Wahunsenaca that Pocahontas had been murdered in England. The quiakros reported that Pocahontas was most likely poisoned. Pocahontas was in good health while in England and when she got on the boat to head home. They were still on the river, not yet having reached the open sea, when Pocahontas got sick. After coming from the Captain's cabin, Pocahontas had a radical problem and died. This is the account of the Mattaponi sacred oral history. (83-84)

24) Pocahontas aware of English deceit
Upon learning the truth of the intentions of the English during her visit to England, Pocahontas became emboldened. No longer were her eyes closed to their deceit. We believe that the English colonists did not want Pocahontas to return to her homeland. Being away from her father for so long, the first thing she would have done would have been to run to him. She would have wanted to reveal Smith's deceptions. . . . In England, she saw through their lies. (84)

25) Her death planned even before going to England
Mattaponi sacred oral history suggests that the plots to kidnap and murder Pocahontas were conceived long before the events occurred. One role of quiakros was to act as intelligence agents. They were continually gathering information about what was happening that pertained to the safety of the Powhatan nation. As such, Mattaponi sacred oral history suggests that Pocahontas's death was planned prior to Argall's ship leaving for England. The quiakros had warned Wahunsenaca prior to Pocahontas's departure that she might not return. (85)

26) Murderers not known
Who was behind Pocahontas's murder? . . . A Dale-Rolfe-Whitaker trio comprising agreements and pacts is not out of the realm of possibility, but Mattaponi sacred oral history does not reveal who or how many persons were behind her murder. (85-86)

Tobacco and Pocahontas - History

John Rolfe played a pivotal role in the early development of the American colonies. His success as a farmer had significant financial impact, and his marriage to Pocahontas solidified shaky relations with local Indians for several years. While Rolfe was not a famous figure of his time, his life and work helped shape the future of the American colonies in many ways.

Early Life

Rolfe was born in the spring of 1585 in Heacham, Norfolk, England. He enjoyed a typical childhood and grew into adulthood in England. During this period, most tobacco consumed in England came from Spain. With New World colonies producing the majority of tobacco, the trade balance between England and Spain significantly favored the Spanish. Rolfe was among a number of English businessmen who saw the benefits of growing tobacco near the new English colony of Jamestown.

Voyage to Jamestown

Rolfe managed to obtain seeds from a popular strain of tobacco to take with him to the colony at Jamestown. The source of the seeds is unknown as the Spanish had imposed a death penalty on anyone selling seeds to a non-Spaniard. However, Rolfe planned his move to Jamestown while in possession of the seeds and with a plan to begin growing the crop in the English colony.

Rolfe booked passage for himself and his wife with the Virginia Company of London aboard the Sea Venture. Part of the planned third supply voyage to Jamestown, the Sea Venture was part of a larger fleet bound to the colony with additional settlers and supplies. The ship with Rolfe and his wife aboard departed England in May 1609, bound for Jamestown.

During the crossing, the fleet became separated after experiencing a large storm that lasted for several days. The Sea Venture began taking on water and Sir George Somers, Admiral of the Virginia Company, deliberately drove the ship onto reefs off the coast of Bermuda to prevent it from sinking. The survivors aboard the Sea Venture spent approximately ten months in Bermuda and built two smaller ships hoping to continue their voyage to Jamestown. Unfortunately, not all survived the time in Bermuda, including Rolfe’s wife and infant daughter.

In May 1610, the two smaller ships set sail for Jamestown, leaving a few settlers behind to maintain England’s claim to Bermuda. Rolfe was aboard one of these ships and continued his voyage to Jamestown. When the ships arrived at Jamestown, they found the colony decimated and the remaining settlers in poor condition. Between the arrival of the ships carrying the survivors from the Sea Venture and an additional relief fleet from England, the colony survived.

Success with Tobacco

While tobacco native to Virginia had been exported to England in the past, it was not a popular product. English consumers preferred sweeter strains from further south, all of which was imported by Spain. Rolfe hoped to change this by growing a tobacco strain from Trinidad in Virginia. With the seeds he brought with him, Rolfe successfully cultivated a sweeter strain of tobacco in Virginia. This strain, which he named Orinoco, became a popular product in England and helped make the Virginia Company profitable.

Following Rolfe’s success, he and other farmers quickly began exporting significant amounts back to England. As a result, numerous plantations sprang up along the banks of the James River where wharfs made it easy to load ships with tobacco. Rolfe himself continued to grow tobacco on his own plantation, Varina Farms, across the river from Henricus.


While Rolfe continued to work with his crops, Pocahontas was being held captive across the river at Henricus. She was treated well and was provided opportunities to improve her English and learn about Christianity. During this time, she and Rolfe met. He later asked for and received permission to marry her. On April 5, 1614, Rolfe wed Pocahontas in a Christian ceremony and the newlyweds lived at Varina Farms for two years where their son was born.

Following their marriage, the Virginia Company began laying plans to take Pocahontas to London to visit. One of the goals of the company was the conversion of Indians to Christianity and her conversion and subsequent marriage to Rolfe was considered a success story. In 1616, the Rolfes took their infant son and spent several months in London. During this time, they spent time with Rolfe’s family in addition to attending numerous social events where Pocahontas was received like visiting royalty.

Unfortunately, when the Rolfe family began their journey home to Virginia, Pocahontas became deathly ill. She did not survive her illness and was buried in England. Their son, Thomas, survived and remained in England while John Rolfe returned to his plantation in Virginia.

Return to Virginia

Rolfe returned to Virginia and continued his work with tobacco exports. After returning to his plantation, he later married Jane Pierce and the couple had a daughter named Elizabeth. In 1622, Rolfe died following an Indian attack on his plantation. It is uncertain whether he was killed by Indians or died from illness after the attack.

Rolfe’s heritage and legacy was considerable. Many prominent figures in American history trace their genealogy back to John Rolfe. Thanks to his marriage to Pocahontas and their son, several “first families” of Virginia have roots descending from Rolfe and Pocahontas. Centuries later, Rolfe’s influence is still seen in Virginia in the numerous roads, cities, and schools named after him.

Perhaps even more important, his success with tobacco generated a cash crop that made the Virginia Company and the Jamestown settlement profitable. In fact, his strain of tobacco became a mainstay of the Virginia economy for generations. Even today, tobacco is a significant part of Virginia agriculture. His marriage to Pocahontas calmed relations between the local Indians and the colonists for several years, giving the settlers time to establish a stronger presence in Virginia. While the peace did not last, it was critical for the long-term survival and success of the colony.

Rolfe’s influence on the developing colonies was significant. Through his life and work, he developed a financial foundation serving the colony for generations to come. Through his marriage to Pocahontas, he helped establish a period of peace critical to the development of the growing colony. While overshadowed by the legend of Pocahontas, Rolfe had an even greater influence on Virginia, which has lasted for centuries.


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Pocahontas, also called Matoaka and Amonute, Christian name Rebecca, (born c. 1596, near present-day Jamestown, Virginia, U.S.—died March 1617, Gravesend, Kent, England), Powhatan Indian woman who fostered peace between English colonists and Native Americans by befriending the settlers at the Jamestown Colony in Virginia and eventually marrying one of them.

How did Pocahontas become famous?

By the account of John Smith, Pocahontas saved Smith’s life, when she was a girl and he was a prisoner of the Powhatans, by placing herself over him to prevent his execution. Some writers think that what Smith believed to be an execution was an adoption ceremony others think that he invented the rescue.

When did Pocahontas get married?

After being taken hostage by the English, Pocahontas married John Rolfe, a distinguished settler, in April 1614. Following the marriage, peace prevailed between the English and the Native Americans as long as Chief Powhatan lived. According to Powhatan tradition and the account of one colonist, Pocahontas was previously married to a Powhatan man named Kocoum.

What is Pocahontas remembered for?

Pocahontas, the “Indian princess,” has been an enduring image in American literature and art. However, her story has been adapted to suit the needs of its interpreters. She has been used to promote both the blending of indigenous and colonial cultures and assimilation and has also been claimed as a symbol by both abolitionists and the Southern aristocracy.

Among her several native names, the one best known to the English was Pocahontas (translated at the time as “little wanton” or “mischievous one”). She was a daughter of Powhatan (as he was known to the English he was also called Wahunsenacah), chief of the Powhatan empire, which consisted of some 28 tribes of the Tidewater region. Pocahontas was a young girl of age 10 or 11 when she first became acquainted with the colonists who settled in the Chesapeake Bay area in 1607.

By the account of colonial leader John Smith, she interceded to save Smith’s life in December of that year, after he had been taken prisoner by her father’s men. Smith wrote that, when he was brought before Powhatan, Pocahontas halted Smith’s execution by placing herself over him as he was about to have his head clubbed on a stone. Powhatan released Smith to return to Jamestown. Some writers have theorized that Smith may have misunderstood what he saw and that what he believed to be an execution was instead a benign ceremony of some kind others have alleged that he invented the rescue outright.

What is known is that Pocahontas became a frequent visitor to the settlement and a friend of Smith. Her playful nature made her a favourite, and her interest in the English proved valuable to them. She sometimes brought gifts of food from her father to relieve the hard-pressed settlers. She also saved the lives of Smith and other colonists in a trading party in January 1609 by warning them of an ambush.

After Smith’s return to England in late 1609, relations between the settlers and Powhatan deteriorated. The English informed Pocahontas that Smith had died. She did not return to the colony for the next four years. In the spring of 1613, however, Sir Samuel Argall took her prisoner, hoping to use her to secure the return of some English prisoners and stolen English weapons and tools. Argall did so by conspiring with Japazeus, the chief of the Patawomeck tribe, who lived along the Potomac River and whom Pocahontas was visiting. Japazeus and his wife lured Pocahontas onto Argall’s ship, where Argall kept her until he could bring her to Jamestown. Although her father released seven English prisoners, an impasse resulted when he did not return the weapons and tools and refused to negotiate further.

Pocahontas was taken from Jamestown to a secondary English settlement known as Henricus. Treated with courtesy during her captivity, Pocahontas was converted to Christianity and was baptized Rebecca. She accepted a proposal of marriage from John Rolfe, a distinguished settler both the Virginia governor, Sir Thomas Dale, and Chief Powhatan agreed to the marriage, which took place in April 1614. Following the marriage, peace prevailed between the English and the Native Americans as long as Chief Powhatan lived. According to Powhatan tradition and the account of one colonist, Pocahontas had previously been married to a Powhatan man named Kocoum.

In the spring of 1616 Pocahontas, her husband, their one-year-old son, Thomas, and a group of other Native Americans, men and women, sailed with Governor Dale to England. There she was entertained at royal festivities. The Virginia Company apparently saw her visit as a device to publicize the colony and to win support from King James I and investors. While preparing to return to America, Pocahontas fell ill, probably with lung disease. Her illness took a turn for the worse and interrupted her return voyage before her ship left the River Thames. She died in the town of Gravesend at about age 21 and was buried there on March 21, 1617. Afterward her husband immediately returned to Virginia her son remained in England until 1635, when he went to Virginia and became a successful tobacco planter.

Pocahontas has been an enduring image in American literature and art, the prototypical “Indian princess,” whose narrative has been relentlessly refashioned to suit the polemical, poetic, or marketing needs of its interpreters. From the early 19th century, the emphasis of her story shifted from Smith’s description of his rescue to Pocahontas’s relationship with Rolfe, a mixed marriage that provided a practical and metaphoric model for the beneficial possibilities of the blending of indigenous and colonial cultures. By the time of John Gadsby Chapman’s painting of The Baptism of Pocahontas for the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in 1836–40, the benefits of the coupling of Rolfe and Pocahontas had become more contingent, predicated on her assimilationist acceptance of Christianity.

In the journey from Simon van de Passe’s 1616 engraving from life to her depiction in Chapman’s painting, Pocahontas’s features and skin tone were dramatically altered to more closely resemble European and European-American concepts of human beauty. Over the years, Smith’s mythic description of his rescue was increasingly accepted as history, and imaginative presentations of Pocahontas’s story were often molded into romances that sometimes focused as much on her relationship with Smith—as in the Walt Disney Company’s animated feature Pocahontas (1995)—as on her relationship with Rolfe. In the run-up to the American Civil War, according to cultural historian Robert P. Tilton, abolitionists claimed Pocahontas as a symbol of the possibility of racial harmony, while Southerners pointed to her and Rolfe as progenitors of Southern aristocracy who offered an alternative national foundation myth to the Northern version centred on the Pilgrims. Pocahontas even found her way into rock music. Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young’s paean “Pocahontas,” from his album Rust Never Sleeps (1979), casts her as the object of male romantic desire situated in pristine, unspoiled America.

Tobacco and Pocahontas - History

You probably know about the Mayflower Pilgrims, but they weren’t the first English colonists. Several years before the Pilgrims arrived, settlers arrived in Virginia.

The Pilgrims came to America for religious reasons, but others came looking for opportunity. England was a crowded, dirty place and America seemed to hold the promise of adventure and wealth. Both the wealthy and the poor came looking for a new life.

Images of Jamestown Virginia Tobacco King

  • In 1587, 150 English men, women, and children began a colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of Virginia. The governor, John White, returned to England for supplies. When he came back three years later, he found the island deserted. The settlers had scratched the word, Croatoan, onto a post, but White found no other clues about what had happened to the settlers. People believed they were killed or sold as slaves by the Powhatan Indians. Recently, researchers have found European artifacts, such as coins, weapons, and jewelry, mixed with Indian artifacts. Researchers believe the settlers might have joined the Indians.
  • In 1607, 105 men and boys arrived in three ships. They landed on the coast of Virginia and named their settlement Jamestown, in honor of King James. These settlers were wealthy gentlemen seeking their fortune. Unfortunately, Jamestown was built on a marshy area, prone to mosquitoes, which brought disease. Drought conditions caused crop failure. Indian attacks were always a danger too. Seventy-three men died in one year.
  • Captain John Smith helped the colony succeed. Most of the men were unaccustomed to hard work. Smith told them that if they wanted to eat they must work. He asked the Powhatan tribe to teach them how to catch fish and grow corn. Slowly the settlement began to prosper.
  • King James thought smoking and tobacco was a terrible habit, but it grew well in Virginia, and many people in Europe loved it. Virginian landowners became wealthy growing tobacco.
  • The landowners brought indentured servants from Europe to work on the farms. These servants could earn their freedom after a few years of hard work – if they survived.
  • Once the servants earned their freedom, they moved further inland and farmed their own land. These poor farmers resented the wealthy tobacco growers. In 1675 and 1676, Nathanial Bacon led a group of farmers in an uprising against the landowners. The rebels burned Jamestown to the ground.
  • The landowners knew that poor, indentured servants could become a danger once they were free. Slaves seemed like an ideal answer.
  1. Artifacts: Items left behind by earlier civilizations
  2. Malaria: a disease transmitted by mosquitoes
  3. Tobacco: a plant which is used to make cigarettes

Questions and Answers

Question: Did John Smith marry Pocahontas?

Answer: Smith and Pocahontas were friends but Pocahontas married another Englishman, John Rolfe.

Coming to Classrooms: The Real Pocahontas Story

This summer, children will be inundated with Pocahontas, Walt Disney's latest cartoon queen. They will slurp grape juice from Pocahontas mugs, practice spelling with Pocahontas pencils, win Pocahontas dolls on the Boardwalk and snuggle in Pocahontas pajamas.

But come September, their teachers will stand at chalkboards and debunk Disney's sanitized version of the Pocahontas story, as they have debunked so many others: Columbus, Jefferson, Custer, Kennedy.

In the most positive view, teachers around the country see the movie as an opportunity to pique their students' interest in Native American history. But others see the film's portrayal of Pocahontas and her tribe as racist, sexist, patronizing and, worst of all, wrong.

Pocahontas was not 18 or 19 when the British arrived in 1607 historians say she was 10 to 12. She was not svelte she was robust. And she was never romantically involved with John Smith, who was probably in his mid-30's when they met.

"Teachers are now forced to correct these wrongs," said Cornel D. Pewewardy, a Comanche-Kiowa who trains teachers in multicultural education. "And we will."

During a recent speech before 8,600 teachers at a National Education Association Conference in Minneapolis, Mr. Pewewardy said, "Exposing misconceptions about Walt Disney's new animated movie, 'Pocahontas,' requires courage for teachers to tread into unsafe domains."

In Houston, Alton Freeman, an eighth-grade history teacher, is planning to revise the course he has taught for 20 years, which included one lesson on Pocahontas and the Powhatan Indians, who lived where the British founded their Jamestown, Va., colony.

"Students will be asking questions about it," Mr. Freeman said. "There will have to be some clarification of actual historical events as opposed to what Disney created."

The film contained a strong environmentalist message, but American Indians and educators said they were dismayed by a simplistic image of Indians as gentle, humble protectors of the land. They also said they were offended by the many references, particularly in the film's songs, to Indians as savages, heathens and beasts.

After the film was released, Robert Eaglestaff, principal of the American Indian Heritage School in Seattle, sent an E-mail message to teachers across the city: "Educators, please be aware of what Disney is promoting in their release of 'Pocahontas.' They are promoting racism, rape and child molestation."

Mr. Eaglestaff pointed to an account of the relationship between Smith and Pocahontas, said to be in Smith's diaries, in which Smith raped and impregnated Pocahontas.

"It's like trying to teach about the Holocaust and putting in a nice story about Anne Frank falling in love with a German officer," Mr. Eaglestaff said in an interview. "You can't pretend everything was O.K. between the Germans and the Jews."

Mr. Eaglestaff said he was particularly disturbed by the lyrics of the song "Savages":

What can you expect from filthy little heathens

Their whole disgusting race is like a curse

Their skin's a hellish red

They're only good when they are dead

According to several accounts, Pocahontas was kidnapped by the British, taken to England, baptized in captivity and renamed Rebecca. There she married a tobacco planter and was later celebrated as a princess. She became ill and died when she was 22.

In the film version, Pocahontas, a curvaceous beauty with flowing black hair and a clingy mini-dress, appears to be about 18. She falls in love with Smith, a blond-haired, blue-eyed explorer, and ultimately saves him from being killed by her father, the tribal chief.

Mr. Eaglestaff sent a letter to Disney last week asking the company to use some of the profits from the film, which had grossed $75.3 million as of July 5, for classroom material.

"Fund a curriculum packet for schools with the correct information," he wrote. "Your well-packaged misstatements of history and people do affect all children."

A Disney representative said the studio had not yet considered paying for such a program. But in an interview, the film's producer, James Pentecost, said his intention was to entertain, not educate. "Nobody should go to an animated film hoping to get the accurate depiction of history," Mr. Pentecost said. "That's even worse than using Cliff's Notes to rely on giving you an in-depth understanding of a story."

He added, "More people are talking about Pocahontas than ever talked about her in the last 400 years, since she lived. Every time we talk about it, it's an opportunity to talk about what was, what was known about her and what we created out of our imagination."

Some teachers agree that this new interest will motivate students. "There is a new wave in multicultural education," said Sharon P. Taylor, a reading teacher at Public School 123 in Harlem, who helped introduce a curriculum on Indian history. "And that is for students and teachers to join together in this investigative search for the truth."

Indeed, Chelsea Naftelberg, a second-grade student at P.S. 87 in Manhattan, did her own search for the truth. After seeing the film's Central Park premiere with her family, Chelsea decided that she would read a "chapter book" about Pocahontas. She said she took out a library book with many chapters, hoping it would provide a more complete portrait of Pocahontas than the 90-minute film. She said she preferred the movie version because it was less violent than the book.

"Pocahontas" opened just days before most schools let out for summer vacation, so there was little time for teachers to assign research assignments on the Powhatans.

Still, in New York, after a field trip to see the film, 24 fifth-graders from P.S. 87 sat in a circle with their teacher, trying to separate fact from fiction. Mostly, the students argued that Pocahontas was too tall to be 12. Some student said the ending left them hanging.

So it was up to the teacher, John Marlin, to get the students digging deeper. "Does anyone know the real story of Pocahontas?" he asked, directing a student to search the room for a book about the Powhatans. "How can you figure out what's true?"

Mr. Marlin said he regretted taking his students to see the film because they had not previously studied the Powhatans. "It didn't strike quite the balance I wanted," he said. "At best, this kind of film is useful as a way to question how history is told."

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