Leaf, Land, and People

Leaf, Land, and People (HM1C88)

Location: Accokeek, MD 20607 Prince George's County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 41.574', W 77° 4.164'

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The National Colonial Farm

— Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park —

Worldwide demand for tobacco encouraged European colonists to grow the crop almost exclusively. Planters sold it to Europe and bought goods in exchange.Life in colonial Prince George's County revolved around growing tobacco. Tobacco brought opportunity for some. Planters saw promise in the country's abundant, fertile land. Tobacco cultivation is labor intensive, and planters forced enslaved Africans and African Americans to produce the cash crop.Tobacco's growing cycle dictated work on a small farm. Year round, everyone—free and slave, man and woman, young and old—were involved in planting, cultivating, cutting, or curing tobacco. Social Life-Each small farm's inhabitants had a great deal of contact with others, at least nearby. Planter men socialized while doing business. Women regularly visited their neighbors. Although their mobility was restricted, slaves ran errands for their masters. Sometimes they visited friend and family.Tobacco and the Land-By 1775, families had subdivided the land over several generations. In most families, farms couldn't be further subdivided and remain profitable. A lack of available fertile land had driven prices too high. White farmers starting out looked elsewhere. After decades of growth, Prince George's County began to lose population.Work on Small Farms-While large plantations may have had dozens or hundreds of slaves, small farmers typically owned one or two people. Often on small farms, masters and slaves worked side by side. During harvest time, especially, people worked long hours. The crop needed to be cut quickly to ensure its quality.Crop as Cash-Growing tobacco was colonial Prince George's County's dominant industry. Its success or failure brought prosperity or ruin. Tobacco leaves served as money. Planters had to sell the tobacco they produced to Britain. They exchanged it for manufactured British goods, at least in good years. In bad years, everyone made do with less.What caused bad years? Sometimes taxation and tobacco inspection laws cost planters their profits. At other times, low demand for tobacco reduced prices. Sometimes weather and pests damaged or destroyed crops. From their home to yours, what can you do? Today many farmers rely on corn, soybean, or wheat as their single main crop. Now, as in colonial times, reliance on a single crop can be bad for the environment and risky for the farmer. .Learn more about different kinds of farming at the Ecosystem Farm. Talk to a farmer at a farmer's marker.
HM NumberHM1C88
Placed ByAccokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 7:24pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 320026 N 4284730
Decimal Degrees38.69290000, -77.06940000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 41.574', W 77° 4.164'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 41' 34.44" N, 77° 4' 9.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3400 Bryan Point Rd, Accokeek MD 20607, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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