John Rolfe

John Rolfe was a very significant person in America’s history.   Originally born in Norfolk, England to John Rolfe and Dorothea Mason in 1585, he has gone down in history as the man who introduced tobacco as a cash crop to the colonists of Virginia and who created a time of peace between the colonists and Native Americans due to his marriage to Pocahontas.
He married his first wife around 1608 and they began their voyage to Jamestown, Virginia in 1609.   After a horrible hurricane where they were ship-wrecked and stranded in Bermuda for many months, Rolfe’s wife gave birth to their daughter who died shortly after.   They did eventually reach Virginia in May of 1610, but Rolfe’s wife died soon after their arrival.
The native tobacco of Virginia was too harsh for European taste so John Rolfe started to experiment with planting tobacco in 1612 to enable him to export a product comparable to the high quality Spanish tobacco.   He planted seeds he had obtained from the West Indies and therefore produced a more fragrant and sweeter tobacco that also grew well in the Virginian conditions.   While this new tobacco was not quite as fine as the Spaniard’s, there was an abundance of it and it was therefore quite affordable.   The colonists sent 20,000 pounds of this tobacco to England in 1617.   A year later that number doubled, and twelve years later they were exporting one and a half million pounds to England, which verified that the colony had established it’s first successful enterprise, which all started with John Rolfe.
During this time Rolfe had married Pocahontas, the daughter of the leader of the Powhatan Federation, in 1614 which created an eight year span of peace between the colonists and the Native Americans that allowed the settlers to develop and expand their colony.   After John returned to Virginia from a trip to England where Pocahontas died, the colony expanded again because during the 1620's production of tobacco dramatically increased which created much...