New Year, new goals, new country. Jamestown Settlement is the ultimate in resolution success stories. Alas, clever marketing by kindergarten storybook writers has led to false beliefs that Plymouth launched the American dream. Not true.
Jamestown, Virginia was founded in 1607. Plymouth, Massachusetts was settled more than a decade later in 1620. The quest for religious freedom reportedly inspired those brave souls to survive the harsh New England winters.
True be told, the most American of dreams launched those ships. Money. Perhaps it would sound a little less crass to say they desired an economic advantage. Nonetheless, both voyages to America were funded by investors seeking profit.
Visitors can tour the living history museum on the banks of the James River. Costumed docents explain life in a Powhatan Indian Village and inside the settlers fort.
Replicas of the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and the Discovery are moored on the James and available for tour. The sailing rigging really works. Guests can see for themselves how these vessels were operated.
Curators of the museum are not sure exactly where the arsenal building was actually located but in the recreated Jamestown fort it sits beside the church. Rather apropos one might say.
Pioneers of the new world brought their prayer books, but they also came ready to lock and load. Every weapon was kept ready and in good repair.
Initially, the natives were quite friendly. They saved the newcomers from starving and then it seems, friendship segued to regret. Here in the Tidewater region is where Pocahontas met Captain John Smith and purportedly saved his life when daddy dearest decided the white man had to go. The story might actually be just that, a lovely story from the imagination of John Smith. Pocahontas, in real life, married John Rolfe and became rather famous in her own time.
It was the Spanish they feared would sail into their harbor and steal their American dream. The Spanish never came. All that armor proved helpful though when their honeymoon with the surrounding Powhatan Confederacy died.
The real Jamestown Settlement is an ongoing archaeological dig, less that two miles from the museum. It is free and open to the public.
~Tina Morris, blogger and photographer