We take the kids to Jamestown, site of the very first English colony in North America that didn't get wiped out within a month of stepping ashore.
The Pilgrims of Plymouth, Mass get all the attention, of course, but it’s worthy of commemoration that the Jamestown colony pre-dated Plymouth by a full thirteen years. And instead of bible-thumping pre-destinarian fanatics, Jamestown’s population was made up exclusively of drunks and hookers. However, this did not look so good on a stamp, and these unsung heroes of American history were condemned to obscurity.
We learn a great deal from the painstakingly exact recreation of the original settlement and the neighbouring Powhatan Indian village. For a start, we deduce the reason why this colony succeeded where Raleigh’s Roanoke colony had failed. If the costumed guides of the Village exhibit are anything to go by, the local Indians were all asthmatic hippies in bifocals, and so no match for the massed musketry and synchronized syphilis of the heroic English settlers.
104 people arrived in three ships, the smallest of which was barely larger than the Odyssey minivan we arrived in. And from that humble beginning sprang both the British Commonwealth and the United States. These guys really should be better known…
The Powhatan Village exhibit, yesterday. It breathes authenticity from every pore.