The colonization of North America opened new doors in to European businessmen. New products brought new business, and therefore more profit. Among these new products was tobacco, something that had not before been introduced to Europe. In the 1580's, Francis Drake introduced tobacco to England, and soon became popular among consumers, and a high demand had developed by the 1610's. This was the first returns from the Virginia Company since they settled, and was helpful to it. Because of the demand for tobacco grew, this proved the Virginia Company worthwhile, and proved that this investment wasn't all-for-naught. When the demand increased, so did the Company, who's purpose in America grew as each new consumer fell under the influence of tobacco. As the increase in production grew, so did the increase in demand. During the eighteenth century the European demand for tobacco grew by more than ten times. It accounted for more than a quarter of all colonial exports, and was easily the most important product produced in North America.
The cultivation of tobacco was not without cost, however. Tobacco proved to be a very demanding crop, as it required much hand labor and attention. As such, the slave labor force grew dramatically, and slaveholding became widespread. Many of these slaves came from the continent of Africa, who not only proved to be good workers, but resistant to some diseases, such as malaria. Here, tobacco again plays a major part in the development of North America and the world, by using many slaves to do the white man's bidding. This could have been when many of the African slaves came to America, who would remain slaves through generations to come. By 1770 over a quarter million slaves labored in the colonies of the south. Because of the dramatic increases in demand for tobacco, the population rate of slaves was growing at twice the rate of the general public.
Tobacco had a devastating effect on the soil where it was grown. The plant derived the ground it grew on of all nutrients needed to sustain another crop, and therefore could not be grown on the same soil again. This caused farmers to move further inland, slowly, but further and further into Native American territory. Because of such demand, the Virginia Company issued headright grants, awards of large tobacco farms to men on the condition that they would transport men from England at their own cost. This prompted the immigration of more than 4,500 English settlers, many who died after arrival. As more and more land was used and then discarded after the crop had been harvested, the farmers moved further and further inland. This created a shortage of space for both the English and the native Indians. The Chesapeake Algonquians were a tribe of Indians who often fought with the English over land. From 1622 to 1645 the Indians and English fought a bloody war against each other, the English emerging victorious in the end. The Chesapeake, who at one time numbered over 10,000, were practically wiped out, and less than 1,500 people can trace their roots back to the tribe. The people who once fed them and kept them from starvation were crushed by the English. This, among other things, caused a hatred for Indians from the colonizers, who during the development of America, did all they could to rid the country of them. While tobacco is not responsible for the massacre against the Native Americans, it did play a role in the kindling of the white man's hatred for them.
To conclude, tobacco has played an important role in the development of America, and the rest of the world. If there was one good result of tobacco farming, it paved the way for the development and colonization of America, but brought far worse things with it. From tobacco, came the widespread use of slave labor, and the killing of thousands of Native American Indians. I believe that even without tobacco, the colonization of America would have continued, and there could have been less violence between colonizers and Indians, and that the use of slave labor could have been reduced. Overall, I believe that the farming of tobacco in America was the wrong decision, and that more bad than good has come from it.