Virginia today is the 12th most populous state in America and produces much less of the entire tobacco crop for any given year than it once did. Depleted soils, market conditions, and the shifting of populations to better economic opportunities in other parts of the state have caused this to happen. World famous flue cured Virginia tobaccos of United States origin are now mainly grown in the bordering counties of South Central Virginia and North Carolina down through South Carolina. This area of the country is referred to as the Piedmont and is the gently rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching eastward to the beginning of the flat coastal plain known as the Tidewater.
Richmond, is the capital of the state and also tobacco capital of the world. It's home to Philip Morris; the world's largest single producer of popular American cigarette brands such as Marlboro, Merit, and Benson & Hedges. They are the areas largest single employer supporting many other jobs in manufacturing, printing, warehousing, and packaging. Notables such as Pinkerton Tobacco and Universal Leaf Tobacco Corp., a world leader in the supply of processed and wholesale tobaccos to the cigarette industry also call Richmond home.
In the past, Richmond and its surrounding area has also been home to other huge tobacco conglomerate's such as Larus Bros. and Brown and Williamson; who produce famous American cigarettes and pipe tobaccos such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Edgeworth. Consolidated Cigar Corp. is also located here and is a major distributor of pipe tobaccos and cigars. The American Tobacco Co. is headquartered in Reidsville North Carolina, but also maintains manufacturing and research facilities here as well.
Richmond is Virginia's third largest urban area and is located on the mighty James River at the eastern fringe of the Piedmont. During the Colonial Period and up to the American Civil War, the James River was a central hub of commerce in the new world. On it's banks sat the major tobacco producers of the world at that time. Plantations such as Shirley, Berkeley, Evelynton, Appomattox, and many others were fueling England's and the rest of the world's newfound desire for tobacco, while at the same time building a new nation. Tobacco produced elsewhere in the region was transported to Richmond, shipped south and then on to other foreign ports out of Norfolk. This practice continues today as Richmond is still a major supplier of tobacco to the world!