England, tobacco and forced labour
Roger Ball will outline the symbiotic relationship between the colonisation of the Americas in the seventeenth Century and the production of tobacco as a commodity. The talk will consider the economic mechanisms that encouraged the expansion of landholdings and the introduction of forced labour, leading to the domination of chattel slavery based upon the use of enslaved West Africans.
Will Simpson tells the story of the illicit tobacco cultivation of the Cotswolds. In the early seventeenth Century, inspired by the first imports coming over from Virginia, a group of West Country smallholders decide to experiment by growing tobacco themselves. Hear how over the course of the next 80 years a cat and mouse game developed, with the British state making repeated attempts to shut down the nascent Cotswold tobacco agronomy and thus defend the imperial model of using slave-labour to farm tobacco in the American colonies.