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The English demand for “sotweed” was considerable and the Chesapeake’s climate, with its hot summers and temperate winters, was particularly suited for its cultivation (Morgan 19).Colonists rushed to establish tobacco plantations, even delaying the construction of durable homes in order to acquire as much land and labor as possible (Carson et al. By 1671, the Chesapeake (both the Virginia and Maryland colonies) exported between 15 and 17 million pounds of tobacco annually (Menard 196).But as numbers of English laborers diminished over the course of the century, planters found themselves facing labor shortages.

This pipe, from the late seventeenth-century King’s Reach Site (18CV83), is one of our more complete examples; the very fragility of the unglazed, low-fired clay means that they are often found broken into numerous fragments.

I have chosen this simple clay pipe to represent the role that tobacco cultivation played in Maryland’s history.

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Tobacco cultivation affected settlement patterns in the Chesapeake.