The Disturbing History of Tobacco | Empires of Dirt

Tobacco: slaves picked it, Europe smoked it, and the Tobacco Lords of Glasgow grew filthy rich on the profits. Their legacy can be found in the street names across the ‘Merchant City’, but not a single street bears the name of the slaves that made them their fortunes.

Cruel Scottish slave traders kidnapped people from West Africa and imprisoned them on Bunce Island off the coast of Sierra Leone, dressed them in tartan and forced them to act as golf caddies.

VICE World News Host Zing Tsjeng heads to Scotland to find out who the Tobacco Lords of Glasgow were and learn more about their role at the centre of the transatlantic tobacco trade.

Empires of Dirt is a show about Europeans getting rich at the expense of everyone else. VICE World News host Zing Tsjeng uncovers the ugly history of the European colonial empires they don’t teach us in schools.

Countries around the world were looted for their treasures, people were oppressed and exploited, and European powers relentlessly profited. The far-reaching repercussions of colonialism are all around us, from our financial institutions to the food we have in our cupboards at home – and it’s about time we took notice.

Watch more from this series:

How Banks Made Money From Slavery

How Britain Got China Hooked on Opium

How Britain Stole $45 Trillion from India with Trains

How the British Empire Exported Homophobia

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