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They Weren't African: Teaching Europeans About Tobacco

Tobacco is a native plant to America, beginning in South America and making its way to North America, and eventually around the world. Cultivating tobacco is challenging and time consuming. A few cultivation experts, large numbers of workers, substantial areas of land, and divine sanction was required to produce the large quantities of tobacco Europeans transported back to their homelands for centuries.

By the mid-1600s, European invaders-turned-planters were raising their sons to become overseers of their production companies/plantations while they relied on the labor of other lesser skilled Europeans for a majority of the work needed to cultivate and produce large quantities of tobacco. If "Africans" arrived in North America in 1619, who introduced tobacco to Europeans in Central and South America? In fact, who taught Europeans how to plant, cultivate, and harvest tobacco during the 15's, and 1600s in North America? Of course, Indians taught them! Who were these "Indians"? You can find their depictions on tobacco labels created and used by Europeans.

You may have been conditioned to believe the melanated people if the images above were transported from Africa as slaves. They [the melanated figures in the images above] were in fact cultivating their own lands to conduct business with Europeans seeking to trade. Today, the melanated people you see in the above images would be labeled as "Black", "African American" or people of "African descent". Each of these misnomers are inaccurate and dangerous. Dangerous in the sense that the fallacious inferior <> superior complex is perpetuated. Inaccurate in the sense that Europeans had no reason to add thousands of miles to their voyage when they wouldn't have survived this long without the help of the "Indians" they encountered for centuries.


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