Dbq#1: Transformation of Colonial Virginia, 1606-1700

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  • Topic: Slavery, Virginia, Indentured servant
  • Pages : 3 (797 words )
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  • Published : September 30, 2007
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The colony of Virginia was drastically changed over the century of its establishment. Early in the colonization process there were many hardships as described by George Percy (Doc. A). However, the colonists were able to alter their colony with the aid of the tobacco industry along with the use of indentured servants, and most notably slaves. The tobacco plantations and the numerous able-bodied workers were capable to create an industry in which the colonists would depend on socially and economically.

The father of the tobacco industry, John Rolfe, became an economic savior in 1612, when he perfected methods of raising and curing the pungent weed. The demand overseas of the product had become great and a tobacco rush soon swept over Virginia. The colonists now used much of their time, concentration, and energy for planting this demanded crop. The industry had now built the economic foundation for the colony of Virginia. Additionally, the industry had created one of the first products to be sold by brand name advertising (Doc. B). However, intense tobacco farming depleted the rich Virginia soil. The vile weed would soon ruin the soil and eventually make it unfit for planting in subsequent years. Due to the barren lands after planting, there became a large demand for large-acre plantations. When more tobacco was planted to fill the needs of the Europeans, there also became a need for more labor. A massive workforce was now needed to work the large tobacco plantations and this demand would soon be fulfilled with the use of forced laborers.

The colonists now faced the problem of a greater need for labor. Yet unfortunately, families procreated too slowly, Indians died too quickly from disease, and slaves too expensive. However, England did have an abundance of displaced farmers in search of long term employment. These laborers, known as "indentured servants," willingly rented out their work for many years. They signed binding contracts to their masters, and as...
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