By Ted Smith
There is little doubt the most important crop in the founding of America was hemp. Used for canvas and rope on the British sailing ships, importing hemp fibre was critical to the ambitious monarchs of the UK. Growing hemp to support the British navy was so valuable that from 1631 to the early 1800s one could use hemp as money in exchanges with government and citizen alike. Hemp was being grown in the early 1600s, with different states like Virginia and Connecticut writing laws forcing every farm to grow it. With the UK being known for poor soil and a short growing season, and the rest of Europe ravaged in war, hemp grew much better on the virgin land of North America.
In 1632 settler Thomas Morton was quoted as saying the hemp grew twice as high in America than it did in England. In his book, HEMP HORIZONS, John Roulac explains how hemp was so vital to Europe`s navies, that Napoleon invaded Russia in an attempt to burn down all of the hemp that was being grown for rope and canvas. At the time the UK relied heavily on Russian hemp. Meanwhile, France had over 800,000 acres of hemp under cultivation during those times, primarily to supply the army and navy with supplies. For more about the fascinating history of this phenomenal plant, please buy my book, HEMPOLOGY 101: THE HISTORY AND USES OF CANNABIS SATIVA.
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