Did you know the birthplace of our country was not in Plymouth Massachusetts? Me either. Or if I knew I’d certainly forgotten. (Click on any picture to make it larger and more clear.)
Today we visited Jamestown, where the English landed in 1607, and the location of their first successful settlement. They attempted four other settlements in years prior at other locations, but each of those failed.
Jamestown was settled in 1607 as a business venture because the English had heard there were riches to be had in America. The settlers were immediately and continually attacked by the local Indians and by the winter of 1608 were without food in brutal cold. Many died, and by the next spring less than 60 survived.
This is the fort where Pocahontas and John Smith met. She did, in fact, save his life, but she did not have a romantic relationship with him, despite what Disney says. She brought food to the fort during the long winter, and ended up marrying John Rolf and moving to London where she died young, and where she is buried.
Our docent at Jamestown reminded us that if this settlement had not survived England would likely not have tried again. The area would have been settled eventually, but most likely by Spain, or possibly France. Our country would not have existed were it not for these few surviving settlers.
Kind of makes you think doesn’t it.
Later in the day we learned the history, just up the road, of the 1781 battle at Yorktown which ended the American Revolution. The British were camped there, led by a very strong and successful Lieutenant General, Charles Cornwallis. General George Washington, in conjunction with French Allies, had far fewer troops than the British, but beat them at Yorktown, in part because they had larger artillery and cannons.
It’s a much longer and more complicated story than that, but it comes down to the fact that we had the bigger guns. We got to watch a 24 pound cannon be fired at the Yorktown Visitor Center. It was pretty impressive.
Then we drove a bit to the Moore House where the terms of surrender were worked out between the British and us. It’s a pretty little house with a long lawn down to the James River. It wasn’t open when we were there but I enjoyed walking down to the river to see the view.
Yesterday we were in Colonial Williamsburg, and while we were there we toured a bit of the College of William and Mary. I’ve got lots of photos, and it’s going to be hard to choose which to show you.
Today was Mother’s Day, and I’ve associated mockingbirds with my mom for many years. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, there were several mockingbirds flitting about most of the day, especially at James Fort.
Somehow I think my mom was exploring right along side of us.
Tonight we’re on the ocean at Virginia Beach. I’m listening to the ocean waves as I sort photos. Retirement is good.