Quand il est apparu clairement que la famine devait également se poursuivre l’année suivante, si rien ne venait l’en empêcher, les colons commencèrent à réfléchir aux moyens de faire pousser plus de maïs qu’auparavant afin d’obtenir une meilleure récolte et de ne plus continuer à vivre dans la misère. Après de longs débats, […] Nous avons donc accordé à chaque famille une parcelle de terre. Cela a été un grand succès, chacun est devenu plus travailleur, de telle sorte que plus de maïs a été planté que les années précédentes. […] À partir de ce moment, les récoltes devinrent abondantes et, à la place de la famine, Dieu donna beaucoup aux colons ; la face des choses avait changé, pour le bonheur de beaucoup. William Bradford
Quand les pèlerins ont d’abord fondé la colonie de Plymouth, ils ont organisé leur agriculture selon un principe de collectivisation des ressources. L’objectif était de tout partager de manière égale, aussi bien le travail que la production. Presque tous ont souffert de la faim. Pourquoi ? Quand des personnes peuvent obtenir la même chose avec peu d’efforts ou avec beaucoup, la plupart ne fourniront que de faibles efforts. Les colons de Plymouth feignaient la maladie plutôt que de travailler à l’accroissement de la propriété commune. Certains volèrent même, en dépit de leurs convictions puritaines. La production totale était trop faible pour l’ensemble de la population, et il en résulta la famine. (…) Cela dura deux ans. John Stossel
En 1623, la faiblesse des technologies accessibles aux cultivateurs de nouvelle Angleterre condamnait la collectivisation à la faillite rapide, ce qui força tout naturellement l’Amérique à faire le choix d’une société fondée sur la liberté, l’entreprise et la propriété privées. A l’opposé, au XXème siècle, lorsque les expériences collectivistes furent imposées à de nombreuses populations, les technologies accessibles à ces régimes, malgré le retard d’investissement que les pays communistes accumulaient au fil du temps, leur permirent d’éviter les famines extrêmes, sauf, naturellement, lorsque les dirigeants communistes s’en servirent comme d’une arme de répression de la paysannerie insoumise. Le communisme mit donc bien plus longtemps à s’effondrer, car les fragments de technologies péniblement copiés à l’ouest permettaient aux régimes communistes de reculer le « seuil de douleur » qui aurait rendu les soulèvements massifs inévitables. Les libéraux ne doivent donc pas croire que la bête immonde est morte à cause de ses échecs et crimes du passé : plus le progrès technologique – qui nait de la compétition des entreprises dans un monde libéral – ira croissant, plus les gens pourront avoir l’impression que le collectivisme, rampant ou déclaré, n’est pas un facteur de misère insurmontable. Si nous venions à négliger de combattre les idées communistes avec détermination, si la mémoire du passé se brouillait à l’excès, alors nous serions, plus que les générations passées, vulnérables face à de nouvelles tentatives d’asservissement. Vincent Benard
Wee ordaine that the day of our ship’s arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be celebrated yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God. Captain John Woodliffe (proclamation, Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, Dec. 4, 1619)
Massachussets contre Virginie, Pèlerins contre Pocahontas. Bradford contre Woodliffe …
Attention, un Thanksgiving peut en cacher un autre!
Qui nous valent aujourd’hui dans toute l’Amérique les festivités que l’on sait …
Dont à nouveau un somptueux match de football américain qui vit d’autres survivants et Saints autoproclamés eux aussi arracher in extremis le succès à une défaite quasi assurée contre America’s team elle-même …
Que, plus de 2 ans avant le rocher de Plymouth, cette revendication virginienne… du premier Thanksgiving?
November 25, 2010
Since many Northern Virginians are not natives to the state and many of our readers are fairly new to the area each year, we think it annually appropriate to let them know that some folks think Thanksgiving Day began in the Old Dominion, not on some big rock in New England.
The story that most children learn explains that the first Thanksgiving occurred in Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts when, after a hard winter and a good harvest, Gov. William Bradford issued a proclamation of thanks in the fall of 1621.
His announcement sparked a three-day celebration during which the citizens and their native guests feasted on wild turkey and other fixings. Special days set aside to give thanks to the Almighty continued rather haphazardly until President George Washington (a Virginian, it should be noted) named a national day in 1798.
Sarah hale, the editor of a Boston Women’s magazine, nagged President Abraham Lincoln into naming it a formal holiday in 1863.
Almost 80 years later, Congress finally got into the act, as it were, and adopted a resolution making it official in 1941.
Virginians’ claim to the first Thanksgiving comes from an event two whole years before Gov. Bradford’s constituents gathered.
According to several reports, the REAL first Thanksgiving took place on Dec. 4, 1619, when Captain John Woodlief led the newly arrived English colonists off his ship and onto a hill by the James River. He told them to drop to their knees and pray — thanking God for a safe arrival. Thirty-eight men from Berkeley Parish in England reportedly vowed:
« Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God. »
If you travel to Berkely Plantation in Charles City, Va., you will find these words etched in brick.
Now, some naysayers might point out that these guys basically just got off a boat, thanked God and moved on, so the Plymouth contingent should indeed get credit for the first celebration. There is no indication that the new Virginians whooped it up in a three-day blowout with the whole neighborhood.
However, one historical account does mention that the Pilgrims were actually headed to Virginia, but lost their way and drifted north. That could mean the first Thanksgiving party was INTENDED for Virginia, even if it did end up elsewhere.
We cling loyally to the idea that Captain Woodlief was way ahead of Gov. Bradford, but we know it really doesn’t matter today. It is more important to join the millions of those who came after and take time to recognize our many blessings of family, friends and liberty and to thank the One responsible.
November 26, 1998
It is altogether fitting and proper to conclude that the first Thanksgiving was held here.
Now begins the season for giving thanks — something that more of us could profit from doing more often. As an inevitable consequence, this also is the season for refueling the debate about where the first Thanksgiving occurred.
For centuries the New England version went practically unchallenged. Many children know the general story, even in this contemporary culture that so frequently reviles its past.
In 1621, at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims held a harvest festival. The colonists were ever so thankful for their safe passage, for their survival of that first awful winter, and for the good offices of the remarkable Indians — Samoset and Squanto.
As William Bradford, governor of the colony, described it: « For summer being done, all things [stood] upon them with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage view. » They were understandably thankful.
But at the risk of sounding chauvinistic, the truth is that the right to claim firstness, like so many other « firsts » attributed to New England, probably belongs to Virginia. Indeed, it is altogether fitting and proper to conclude that the first Thanksgiving was held here.
The Virginia version is not widely known — particularly outside the South.
ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1619, a group of 38 English colonists headed by Captain John Woodlief sailed from England aboard the Margaret. They landed at Berkeley Hundred 10 weeks later. The settlers were sent by the London Company; it owned thousands of acres in the area, and settled and supported Berkeley Plantation.
Exhibit A in the Virginia claim to firstness is this sentence in the company’s instructions to the settlers — instructions to be opened upon reaching Virginia:
We ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.
These settlers held that Thanksgiving at Berkeley Hundred on December 4, 1619 — a year before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth. Surely Woodlief and his followers were equally as grateful as the Pilgrims — equally schooled in adversity, equally determined to renew themselves with roots in the land. Surely they were equally devout and equally thankful. To suggest that they were disobedient and did not give thanks requires a superabundance of credulity and moral pretension.
But lest we forget, there were numerous trips to Virginia prior to Woodlief’s: the Raleigh expeditions of the 1580s, and the London Company’s initial expeditions — beginning with the one under Christopher Newport that founded Jamestown in 1607.
The London Company’s charter of May 23, 1609, was written principally by Sir Edward Sandys with the concurrence of Sir Francis Bacon, the early philosopher of natural right. It was probably the first document to say that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed. It was the closest thing to a constitution and bill of rights that colonists in Virginia had for three years, until refined in 1612. The Sandys charter was written 11 years before the first Pilgrim reached Plymouth.
On November 18, 1618, the London Company issued instructions to Sir George Yeardley upon his appointment as Governor of Virginia; those instructions provided for a liberal form of government. At Jamestown, in 1619, Yeardley convened the first legislative assembly in the New World. That was a year before the landing at Plymouth.
THOSE WERE firsts of considerable magnitude. They, and the events in Virginia during the 35 years prior to the Plymouth landing, tell us a good deal about the Virginia colonists.
They were God-fearing people. Just about every one of their existing documents speaks of their duties and obligations to a God almost always described as « almighty. »
These also were people of discipline and self-will. Contrary to so many of us today, they were people determined not to tear down the old to make way for the ersatz old. They retained their umbilical ties to the past, as Virginians — inhabitants of the most English of states — tend to do still. Their past was England, and central to England were the church and God.
Even without the instructions to Woodlief, is it not logical to assume that the colonists in Virginia regularly prayed and gave thanks prior to 1621? Do we not have to overlook too much to believe they did not? In 1962, the evidence proved overwhelming to Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., then an adviser to President John Kennedy. In December of that year he repented of « an unconquerable New England bias » on the question, and acknowledged that Virginia’s claim is « quite right. » But despite the evidence, the bias persists.
Robert “Rocky » Cahill
November 19, 2010
« Wee ordaine that the day of our ship’s arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be celebrated yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God. » This is a proclamation read Dec. 4, 1619 by Captain John Woodcliffe of the ship Margaret when he, his crew and some 38 colonists landed at what would become Berkeley Plantation along the James River in the future commonwealth of Virginia.
The folks at Berkeley, upon arriving, came ashore and held a worship service, with thankful prayers for a safe passage from England. The captain then read the above proclamation, which the company that owned and financed the expedition had sent along to be read on the day of landing. This was a year and 17 days before the Pilgrims arrived. Apparently the Pilgrims had a better public relations agent.
Thursday, Nov. 25, we will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a favorite holiday for many of us. On this day, most of us will gather together with family, eat far more than we should, watch football on TV and probably take a long food-induced nap.
Most Americans have always been taught that the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock and established the colony of Massachusetts originated this holiday. But then we were also taught that they always wore black and white clothing, wore funny hats and had huge buckles on their belts and shoes. Well, friends and neighbors, it ain’t necessarily so.
Black and white clothes were reserved for Sunday’s religious services. The Pilgrim clothing was likely red and other colors common in clothing in their day. Metals were too precious to use for decorative buckles. Any such items were more likely to have been from wood or even carved from bone. I have no idea where the funny looking hats came from.
The pilgrims came because of persecution for their religious differences with the Church of England, which was the official church of the English monarchy. Separatists as they were called, were not only fined for not attending services of the official church, they had even had leaders executed over their different beliefs.
The majority of them first migrated to Holland where they were tolerated, then later decided to try life in the New World. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia — en.wikipedia.org, younger, stronger members of the religious group were to sail first, allowing the older folks to get their financial affairs in order and to allow the younger folks to get the settlement started and the rougher work done.
This group set sail in July 1620 on two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower, but the Speedwell started taking on water so they stopped for repairs. They departed again and the Speedwell still had trouble so some of its passengers joined the folks on the Mayflower and sailed on. Later it would come to light that some crew members of the Speedwell were actually sabotaging the ship. The crew had signed year-long contracts for the voyage, and some were not happy about the length of time for the voyage.
Eventually, 102 people set out on in early September. About halfway they ran into bad weather, enough so that a main beam of the Mayflower cracked and the group considered turning back, but were able to make temporary repairs and sailed on. Along the way, two people, a crew member and a passenger would die. Also a child named Oceanus was born.
The Pilgrims first sighted land in mid-November. However, due to rough seas and damage to their landing craft, it would be mid-December before they actually landed. Small parties did wade ashore. In these early explorations, the settlers discovered abandoned buildings, most built by Native Americans, some apparently by Europeans, but the group did not find any inhabitants.
They did find mounds that would turn out to be burial mounds of the Native Americans. In exploring these, they discovered bodies of deceased natives. They also discovered pallets of supplies such as corn, beans and implements.
These not only replenished their depleted food supplies, but they also supplied seed for planting the following spring. By December most of the passengers and crew had become ill with a fever and coughing. Others suffered scurvy. During the first winter nearly half of the group died.
It would be some time before the colonists and natives had much contact. This was due in part to earlier visits by English ships fishing the rich waters of the area. During these early trips a Captain Thomas Hunt had kidnapped 27 natives, taking them back to Europe to sell as slaves. Fortunately, one of these natives, Squanto, would make his way back to his homeland. He eventually befriended the Pilgrims. It was mainly through his efforts that they learned to survive in America.
In 1621, after a bountiful harvest, the Pilgrims held a harvest festival, inviting their native neighbors. There were approximately 50 colonists and 90 natives attending. The feast ran for three days. The menu apparently contained wild turkeys, many types of waterfowl, fish and venison from deer the natives brought as their contribution to the party. Although they held a bigger event in 1623, many historians consider the 1621 feast as the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving (over a year after the one held in Virginia.)
Both these may now be in question however. A 2007 story in USA Today told about a fifth-grade teacher in Florida who had published a children’s book. In it she covered research done by Michael Gannon, a retired history professor and researcher from the University of Florida. Gannon wrote about Pedro Menendes de Aviles, a Spanish explorer. On Sept. 8, 1565, de Aviles landed in St. Augustine. The explorer celebrated a feast of thanksgiving with Timucua Indians. Their meal was bean soup. This was 56 years before the Pilgrims, 55 before the one in Virginia. (I’d have to say there’s not much to celebrate if you’re so hungry you consider bean soup a feast.)
Regardless of which feast you consider the first, Thursday we here in this region will celebrate Thanksgiving. In many ways it is still similar to the early days of our history. Many area residents like to deer hunt during this time. Traditionally, area farm families often kill hogs at this time. Most families gather for a big meal and a chance to visit with relatives they don’t always see very often.
Please remember not every family in the area has the wherewithal to celebrate with a huge feast. Area food banks are pressed heavily just to provide basic food for many families who, without this help would have nothing at all.
Be as generous as you can during this time. Let us forego that extra pumpkin pie, cut back on the size of the turkey or ham, let one dessert be enough, then donate the savings to area charities so that all our folks here in southwestern Virginia may have enough to eat. I can’t think of a better way to show thanks for the fact that most of us will have far more to eat than we actually should than by sharing with those less fortunate.
May this Thanksgiving find your home filled with the aroma of good food cooking, the sounds of family gathering and the warmth of friends visiting. May you all be blessed on this Thanksgiving Day.
One final note. Though it may be a day late when this is published, happy birthday to my youngest brother. Ron. whose birthday is Nov. 19. It is always easy for me to remember as he was born on the birthday of our Grandmother Bessie Smith.
A freelance journalist, Robert “Rocky” Cahill writes regularly for the News & Messenger. His Possum Philosophy column appears in each Saturday edition.
November 25, 2009
Forget cranberry sauce, Plymouth Rock, and pilgrims. Think olives, garbanzo beans, and Spanish soldiers and sailors and settlers. The first Thanksgiving in our country took place in September 1565, when famed Spanish mariner Pedro Menéndez de Avilés along with 800 Spanish settlers celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving to commemorate the successful sea voyage and founding of the town of St. Augustine, which would go on to be the first and longest-lasting port within the present-day United States. Occurring as it did so soon after trans-Atlantic landfall, this was a maritime Thanksgiving, with sailor’s fare making up the bulk of the feast, probably along with native Timucuan food, which would likely have included oysters and fish. The local St. Augustine Timucua were known by the Spanish as the « Agua Salada, » or Salt Water, Timucua, a testament to the maritime culture that existed in St. Augustine even prior to European colonization. As is often the norm, our country’s history books and school rooms tend to forget our Spanish colonial and maritime roots, and we have ended up celebrating as our national holiday the Thanksgiving of the pilgrims which occurred some 56 years after St. Augustine’s first Thanksgiving.
Famed historian of Florida history Michael Gannon was dubbed « the Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving » by New England news media when, in 1985, he was interviewed live via satellite by WBZ-TV in Boston and informed their viewers that the first Thanksgiving was in Florida, not Massachusetts. He went on to tell them, in a quote made famous by countless St. Augustinian politicians, that « by the time the Pilgrims came to Plymouth, St. Augustine was up for urban renewal. »
Our family here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse is preparing to close the site for tomorrow, and we all wish you and your families the best during this holiday. Before I leave you to it, I thought I’d include the complete essay written in 2002 by Dr. Gannon and published in the magazine St. Augustine Catholic (Volume XII, Issue 2, p. 8-9). Its a great summary of the origins of our national holiday with plenty of juicy historical details. Enjoy your traditional Thanksgiving meals of salt pork, garlic, and garbonzo bean soup!
We Gather Together…
Michael Gannon, Ph.D.
When on September 8, 1565 Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his 800 Spanish settlers founded the settlement of St. Augustine in La Florida, the landing party celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving, and, afterward, Menéndez laid out a meal to which he invited as guests the native Seloy tribe who occupied the site.
The celebrant of the Mass was St. Augustine’s first pastor, Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, and the feast day in the church calendar was that of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What exactly the Seloy natives thought of those strange liturgical proceedings we do not know, except that, in his personal chronicle, Father Lopez wrote that « the Indians imitated all they saw done. »
What was the meal that followed? Again we do not know. But, from our knowledge of what the Spaniards had on board their five ships, we can surmise that it was cocido, a stew made from salted pork and garbanzo beans, laced with garlic seasoning, and accompanied by hard sea biscuits and red wine. If it happened that the Seloy contributed to the meal from their own food stores, fresh or smoked, then the menu could have included as well: turkey, venison, and gopher tortoise; seafood such as mullet, drum, and sea catfish; maize (corn), beans and squash.
What is important historically about that liturgy and meal was stated by me in a 1965 book entitled The Cross in the Sand: « It was the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent [European] settlement in the land. » The key word in that sentence was « permanent. » Numerous thanksgivings for a safe voyage and landing had been made before in Florida, by such explorers as Juan Ponce de León, in 1513 and 1521, Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528, Hernando de Soto in 1529, Father Luis Cáncer de Barbastro in 1549, and Tristán de Luna in 1559. Indeed French Calvinists (Huguenots) who came to the St. Johns River with Jean Ribault in 1562 and René de Laudonnière in 1564 similarly offered prayers of thanksgiving for their safe arrivals. But all of those ventures, Catholic and Calvinist, failed to put down permanent roots.
St. Augustine’s ceremonies were important historically in that they took place in what would develop into a permanently occupied European city, North America’s first. They were important culturally as well in that the religious observance was accompanied by a communal meal, to which Spaniards and natives alike were invited. The thanksgiving at St. Augustine, celebrated 56 years before the Puritan-Pilgrim thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation (Massachusetts), did not, however, become the origin of a national annual tradition, as Plymouth would. The reason is that, as the maxim holds, it is the victors who write the histories.
During the 18th and 19th centuries British forces won out over those of Spain and France for mastery over the continent. Thus, British observances, such as the annual reenactment of the Pilgrims’ harvest festival in 1621, became a national practice and holiday in the new United States, and over time obliterated knowledge of the prior Spanish experiences in Florida, particularly at St. Augustine. Indeed, as the Pilgrims’ legend grew, people of Anglo-American descent in New England came to believe that Plymouth was the first European settlement in the country and that no other Europeans were here before the arrival of the Mayflower – beliefs that are still widespread in that region.
In recent years, Jamestown, Virginia has enjoyed some success in persuading its Anglo-American cousins in Plymouth that it was founded in 1607, thirteen years before the Pilgrims’ arrival, and that there were regular ship schedules from England to Jamestown before the Mayflower’s voyage of 1620. Furthermore, Berkeley Plantation near Charles City, Virginia, has convincingly demonstrated that it conducted a thanksgiving ceremony on December 4, 1619, nearly two years before the festival at Plymouth. Thought to have been on Berkeley’s menu were oysters, shad, rockfish, and perch.
Along the old Spanish borderlands provinces from Florida to California an occasional voice is heard asserting that this site or that was the first permanent Spanish settlement in the United States – a claim often made in Santa Fe, New Mexico which was founded in 1610 – or that it was the place where the first thanksgiving took place. An example of the latter claim appeared last year in the New York Times, which, while recounting the colonizing expedition of Juan de Oñate from Mexico City into what became New Mexico, stated that celebrations of Oñate’s party in 1598 « are considered [the Times did not say by whom] the United States’ first Thanksgiving. »
The historical fact remains that St. Augustine’s thanksgiving not only came earlier; it was the first to take place in a permanent settlement. The Ancient City deserves national notice for that distinction.
Perhaps most of New England is now willing to concede as much, though that was not the case in November 1985, when an Associated Press reporter built a short Thanksgiving Day story around my aforesaid sentence of 20 years before in The Cross in the Sand. When his story appeared in Boston and other papers, New England went into shock. WBZ-TV in Boston interviewed me live by satellite for its 6:00 p.m. regional news program.
The newsman told me that all of Massachusetts was « freaked out, » and that, as he spoke, « the Selectmen of Plymouth are holding an emergency meeting to contend with this new information that there were Spaniards in Florida before there were Englishmen in Massachusetts. »
I replied, « Fine. And you can tell them for me that, by the time the Pilgrims came to Plymouth, St. Augustine was up for urban renewal. »
The somewhat rattled chairman of the Selectmen was quoted as saying: « I hate to take the wind out of the professor’s sails, but there were no turkeys running around in Florida in the 1500s. But there may be a few loose ones down there now at the University of Florida. » So there!
Within a few days of the tempest a reporter from the Boston Globe called to tell me that throughout Massachusetts I had become known as « The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving. »
Well, let’s hope that everyone up north has settled down now.
And let’s enjoy all our Thanksgivings whenever and wherever they first began.
Dr. Michael V. Gannon is a Distinguished Service Professor of History at the University of Florida. He has had a long interest in the early Spanish missions of Florida about which he has written extensively. Two of his books, Rebel Bishop (1964) and The Cross in the Sand (1965) treat of the early history of this state.
In 1990, Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, conferred on Dr. Gannon the highest academic honor of that nation, Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel la Católica.
Is Plymouth really America’s hometown? There are some in Jamestown, Va., who think their town is the true birthplace of America, in large part because it was founded first. « Get out from under the rock » was one motto of Jamestown’s recent 400th anniversary celebration.
Plymouth backers acknowledge that Jamestown was indeed founded 13 years earlier, but say the colony begun by the Pilgrims in 1620 proved more important to the founding of the American nation.
To settle the argument, a mock trial – conceived as half educational and half fun – was held last weekend at Marshfield’s Winslow House, with experts on both sides addressing the question.
The symposium ended in an official draw after members of the largely local « jury » decided not to vote on a verdict.
The event included presentations by a Canadian professor on the lesser-known Port Royal settlement in Nova Scotia, which dates to 1605, with suggestions that it, too, is a contender for the America’s Hometown title. Also offering views were two speakers connected to Jamestown, and Winslow House’s Mark Schmidt, who offered brief history lessons.
Schmidt, director of a historic house built in 1699 by the grandson of Pilgrim Edward Winslow, said the fundamentally inexact concept of an « American hometown » could be expressed as « who held the first press conference. »
The case for Jamestown was pleaded primarily by Crandall Shifflet, a professor of history at Virginia Tech, who addressed Plymouth’s supposedly special claims on the nation’s memory. Shifflet argued that religion was also part of Virginia’s settlements, the Mayflower Compact was relatively unimportant, Massachusetts colonists destroyed Indian settlements in the Pequot War and King Philip’s War, and no « first Thanksgiving » actually took place in Plymouth.
After mocking Plymouth’s claims, Shifflet came up with a scorecard for each settlement’s contribution to creating an open and democratic society, which credited Jamestown for having the first representative governing body, the first African members, economic initiatives, and other firsts. But out of a possible score of 100, Shifflet concluded, « Jamestown 60, Plymouth 20. They both fail. »
Tonia Deetz Rock, a Jamestown archeologist and educator who has also worked at Plimoth Plantation for more than a decade, discussed archeological findings at James Fort, Jamestown’s first site, which buttress its claim as a permanent settlement.
Plymouth Town Manager Mark Sylvia launched the hometown defense by offering his own ideas on what constitutes America’s hometown – defined by the dictionary as the place where one « grew up » – concluding « America grew up because of Plymouth. » The Pilgrim colony has the best claim to the hometown tag because the values of its founders influenced and reflected American values, its history paralleled and influenced the nation’s growth, and it developed socially and economically in ways parallel to the nation as a whole.
Unlike Jamestown’s settlers, who were employees of the Virginia Company, the Pilgrims came to the new world as families and members of a religious congregation who « risked their lives » to « create a new community. » Plymouth’s founders expanded westward, and the town became home to waves of later immigrants, just as the nation did.
Plymouth’s symbols, Sylvia said, have come to represent American values. Plymouth Rock became a symbol of endurance (praised by de Tocqueville, the classic French student of American democracy, as « a symbol of hope »), the Mayflower Compact expressed a people’s desire to govern themselves, and the First Thanksgiving represented the desire to live in peace with neighbors. And the site where the Pilgrims built their homes remains « an active, thriving community » today, Sylvia said.
In making the case that a French fur trading settlement on the Bay of Fundy – the first permanent European settlement in the northeastern tier of North America – deserves more attention than it customarily receives, Barry Moody said Port Royal’s founders developed close relations with neighboring Mi’kmaq Indians but received less love from Jamestown’s English settlers. Raiders from Jamestown looted and burned the settlement in 1613.
Moody, a history professor at Arcadia University in Nova Scotia, questioned the hometown concept’s appropriation of the term « American. » As a Canadian, Moody said, « I consider myself an American. » But he also acknowledged that a discussion of a national hometown « could not happen in Canada. » Panel members suggested the issue reflects the USA’s sense of itself as a nation with a special identity.
When it came time for the vote, some members of the prospective « jury » said voting would oversimplify the issues raised by the speakers. Schmidt then declared a mistrial.
Karen Moseley of Marshfield and Florida said she was tired of the « Hallmark » image of Thanksgiving. « We’re made to think we need America’s hometown, » she said. Author Bob Hale of Duxbury said America’s hometown was largely « a motto, » and no one place can be representative of the nation.
Motto or not, Paul Cripps, director of the tourism promotion agency Destination Plymouth, said, « America’s hometown » has proven an effective marketing tool. A brief exit poll showed some voters remained staunch for Plymouth. Tom Kane of Marshfield said he would have voted for Plymouth because of « the family and the continuity. »
What’s the Big Idea?
Imagine what the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade would look like if Americans celebrated the Jamestown settlement, and not a highly romanticized version of Plymouth, as our shared creation story. Instead of friendly Pilgrims and Indians on floats next to Mickey Mouse and Tom Turkey, we’d witness what one historian describes as a procession of emaciated subsisters and cannibals, « their bodies shrunk down almost to the skeleton, resembling corpses held upright by unseen marionette strings. »
While Jamestown is the site of the first permanent English colony in America, and most likely the site of the first Thanksgiving feast, « Jamestown makes us uncomfortable, » writes historian Karen Kupperman in her breakthrough work, The Jamestown Project. She explains:
The portrait of it that has come down to us depicts greedy, grasping colonists in America and their arrogant backers in England…Within Jamestown, life degenerated into death and despair. When John Rolfe finally developed a marketable crop–tobacco–the colonists exploited the land and one another in the scramble for profits. Ultimately they would institute slavery for imported Africans in their insatiable search for profits. This is the creation story from hell.
Indeed, the Jamestown settlers suffered enormously, and died in great numbers. During the « Starving Time » of 1609-1610 the colonists were subsisting on starch from their shirt collars and “the meat of their dead fellows.” Only 60 of the original 500 colonists survived this period, which remains one of the most controversial events in American history.
Why did Jamestown fail? The answer to that question depends on your political persuasion. In fact, Tea Party activists have found in Jamestown an analogy for the evils of socialism. It was the settlers’ practice of collectivism, this argument goes, that led to their destruction.
Many historians say this argument is simplistic, and does not survive the most rudimentary historical scrutiny. In fact, the Jamestown colony was sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders financed the venture with the hope of turning a profit on New World gold. And so a competing narrative is that the colonists’ hunger for gold was so insatiable that the profit motive blinded them from their responsibilities to the community.
In other words, viewed through the lense of our contemporary politics, if you think the settlers were communists, they died because they were lazy; if you think the settlers were capitalists, they died because they were greedy. Both interpretations miss the mark. The colonist’s fate had much more to do with geography.
The location of Jamestown was selected because it was particularly well-suited for defense against Spanish attack, but it was also a malarial swamp that was ill-suited for agriculture. Had the site been located elsewhere the colonists might have feasted on Chesapeake Bay crab, and the first Thanksgiving could have occurred some years earlier than it did.
Still another explanation for the plight of the Jamestown settlers looms large. Colonization is really hard. In fact, there were numerous failed settlements up and down the East Coast. So why was failure so common?
As Karen Kupperman writes, the migrants had been sent over with « notoriously unrealizable goals: to find a good source of wealth, preferably precious metals, or a passage to the Pacific and the riches of Asia. » When the colonists failed to deliver the rich products their investors demanded, the leaders of Jamestown failed to recognize, and voice, a simple truth. As Kupperman writes, « getting started is extremely difficult, and they would need support for many years just to become established before any valuable products could be expected. »
The Virginia Company of London, for its part, was guilty of short-termism. As Karen Kupperman points out, 17th century investors eyed the next quarterly report as much as those in the 21st. While the settlers pleaded for help, the company viewed the colony as a drain on its resources, and sent the lion’s share of its supply ships to Asia and the Mediterranean. And so we hear of numerous recriminations today, aimed at all sides. One notorious and oft-quoted example is the elite members of the Jamestown settlers referring to the ordinary settlers as « the scum of the earth. »
And yet, Kupperman notes that if we read beyond « the surface noise of complaint and charge and countercharge, » we see that ordinary people in Jamestown « were improvising relationships with the people and the land that finally achieved a measure of stability and growth in the colony. »
What’s the Significance?
There are a number of issues at stake in the way Americans choose to think of their heritage and celebrate their creation story on Thanksgiving. After all, creation stories serve as a guide for how we function as a society today. What lessons can the struggles of our forefathers teach us as we confront an uncertain future in the 21st century? To answer that question, it helps to get the history right.
As Karen Kupperman points out in The Jamestown Project, the dual images that exist in the popular imagination for both the Plymouth and Jamestown settlements represent a false dichotomy. While the Pilgrims at Plymouth are portrayed as a humble people and the Jamestown settlers a motley rabble, this distinction would have been completely unintelligible to contemporaries.
In fact, if we are to reconstruct Jamestown in its proper context, as Kupperman does an admirable job of, we would see that this settlement was not a failure at all. In fact, Kupperman writes, through trial and error, « Jamestown’s ordinary settlers and their backers in England figured out what it would take to make an English colony work. » In a very short period of time they were able to accomplish « a breakthrough that none of the other contemporaneous ventures was able to make. »
So the question is not what caused the many setbacks in Jamestown, but rather, what were the ingredients for its success? Kupperman lists them: « widespread ownership of land, control of taxation for public obligations through a representative assembly, the institution of a normal society through the inclusion of women, and development of a product that could be marketed profitably to sustain the economy. » Indeed, Kupperman argues, not only did the colonists in Jamestown survive, they forged a model for all successful English colonies to come.
And so as the human race looks to new frontiers–such as expanding into space–what lessons can we bring with us in a capsule? The colonization of the New World in the 17th century would be a particularly good case study to take with us. After all, nothing has fundamentally changed about human nature, and at the same time, a lot has changed about our capacity for learning from success and failure.
Just as the pilgrims of 400 years ago, it looks like the interplanetary pilgrims of tomorrow will be funded by private industry, not governments. And these explorers may very well be inspired by religion or politics to take their journey. Some entrepreneurs may seek to colonize a planet where people can put, for instance, a libertarian political philosophy into practice. They might succeed, and they might be vaporized. Based on the lessons of history, their success or failure will have practically nothing to do with their political philosophy, and everything to do with the siting of their colony, as well as how well they are able to set a rational set of expectations for what these explorers can hope to accomplish in the next brave new world. Remember, it won’t be easy.
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Traveling aboard the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, 104 men landed in Virginia in 1607 at a place they named Jamestown. This was the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
Thirteen years later, 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts at a place they named Plymouth. With these two colonies, English settlement in North America was born.
LOCATION OF THE SETTLEMENTS
Jamestown offered anchorage and a good defensive position. Warm climate and fertile soil allowed large plantations to prosper.
Plymouth provided good anchorage and an excellent harbor. Cold climate and thin, rocky soil limited farm size. New Englanders turned to lumbering, shipbuilding, fishing and trade.
REASONS FOR THE COLONIES
Economic motives prompted colonization in Virginia. The Virginia Company of London, organized in 1606, sponsored the Virginia Colony. Organizers of the company wanted to expand English trade and obtain a wider market for English manufactured goods. They naturally hoped for financial profit from their investment in shares of company stock.
Freedom from religious persecution motivated the Pilgrims to leave England and settle in Holland, where there was more religious freedom. However, after a number of years the Pilgrims felt that their children were being corrupted by the liberal Dutch lifestyle and were losing their English heritage. News of the English Colony in Virginia motivated them to leave Holland and settle in the New World.
Inexperience, unwillingness to work, and the lack of wilderness survival skills led to bickering, disagreements, and inaction at Jamestown. Poor Indian relations, disease, and the initial absence of the family unit compounded the problems.
Cooperation and hard work were part of the Pilgrim’s lifestyle. Nevertheless, they too were plagued with hunger, disease, and environmental hazards.
The settlers at Jamestown were members of the Anglican faith, the official Church of England.
The Pilgrims were dissenters from the Church of England and established the Puritan or Congregational Church.
In 1619, the first representative legislative assembly in the New World met at the Jamestown church. It was here that our American heritage of representative government was born. Since New England was outside the jurisdiction of Virginia’s government, the Pilgrims established a self-governing agreement of their own, the « Mayflower Compact. »
The Virginia colonists settled in the territory of a strong Indian empire or chiefdom. English relations with the Powhatan Indians were unstable from the beginning. Vast differences in culture, philosophies, and the English desire for dominance were obstacles too great to overcome. After the Indian uprising in 1622, the colonists gave up attempts to christianize and live peacefully with the Powhatans.
Prior to the Pilgrims’ arrival, an epidemic wiped out the majority of the New England Indians. Several survivors befriended and assisted the colonists. Good relations ended in 1636 when the Massachusetts Bay Puritans declared war on the Pequot Tribe and Plymouth was dragged into the conflict.
Who married Pocahontas? Some erroneously believe John Smith did. In actuality, she married John Rolfe, an Englishman who started the tobacco industry in Virginia. The John Smith connection stems from Smith’s later writings relating an incidence of Pocahontas saving his life.
According to Longfellow’s epic, The Courtship of Miles Standish, John Alden proposed to Priscilla Mullins on behalf of Standish and she replied, « Why don’t you speak for yourself, John? » Priscilla did in fact marry John Alden at Plymouth. The records do not mention Standish ever courting Priscilla.
On December 4, 1619 settlers stepped ashore at Berkeley Hundred along the James River and, in accordance with the proprietor’s instruction that « the day of our ship’s arrival … shall be yearly and perpetually kept as a day of thanksgiving, » celebrated the first official Thanksgiving Day.
In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims held a celebration to give thanks to God for his bounty and blessings. This occasion was the origin of the traditional Thanksgiving as we know it today.
The growth and development of these two English colonies, though geographically separated, contributed much to our present American heritage of law, religion, government, custom and language. As Governor Bradford of Plymouth stated,
« Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shown unto many, yea, in some sort, to our whole Nation. »
The charter of the Virginia Company stated,
« Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the giver of all goodness, for every plantation which our father hath not planted shall be rooted out. »
Bradford, William. Bradford’s History. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908.
Breen, T. H. Puritans and Adventurers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
Hatch, Charles. The First 17 Years. Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation, 1957.
Jennings, Francis. The Invasion of America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1975.
Robbins, Roland W. Pilgrim John Alden’s Progress. Plymouth, Massachusetts: Pilgrim Society, 1969.
Author: Nancy Fisher
Virginia’s Jamestown was the continent’s first permanent English settlement. So how is that Massachusetts’s Plymouth has precedence in the minds of so many Americans?
As Jamestown approaches the May 2007 four-hundredth anniversary of its founding, officials in charge of the commemoration must be worrying about more than the narrow roads that lead to the historic island, construction deadlines, and projections of tourist turnout. They know the site of the first permanent settlement in English America also has an enduring image problem and a bit of an inferiority issue. Until the relatively recent rediscovery of the site of the original fort by Bill Kelso’s intrepid band of archaeologists and its newsworthy finds, Jamestown has played second fiddle to the Plymouth Colony throughout the nation’s postrevolutionary history.
Despite a thirteen-year age advantage, Jamestown has not secured the prime place in the American public’s minds or hearts. School and college textbooks are not to blame: whatever else is wrong with them, their chronologies still assign precedence to 1607 Jamestown over 1620 Plymouth and the 1630 Massachusetts Bay Colony. Even the uneven quality of teaching and learning in our academies, as measured by standardized exit exams or jaw-dropping media polls, cannot explain why Jamestown is consistently rated the runner-up among early colonial icons. Something else is at work.
The question is twofold: Why does Plymouth command our national attention and affection? And why doesn’t Jamestown?
Before we tackle those questions, we should recognize three other candidates for the « founding colony » prize, none of which ever wins enough primary votes to get on the ballot. The Spanish were in Florida early in the sixteenth century, first hoping to find more gold than Caribbean riverbeds and placer mines yielded and, when that proved elusive, to secure the Florida Strait for its returning treasure fleets from Central America and Havana. The murderous expulsion of an erstwhile colony of French Protestant « heretics » led to the founding of St. Augustine in 1565, which in turn gave Spain claim to at least chronological priority in the memory of all the Americas.
Another claimant is the short-lived English colony—or, more accurately, colonies—on Roanoke Island in the mid-1580s. Walter Ralegh’s plan to plant a fortified privateering base just behind the Outer Banks was aimed at the Spanish flotas, which sailed on the Gulf Stream past Florida before heading home. Beset by poor planning, ferocious storms, and worse Indian relations, Roanoke can only make claim on the public memory for its unwelcome gift of « Virginia »—for the « Virgin Queen, » Elizabeth I—to the proud colony of North Carolina and its mysterious but understandable disappearance. No one remembers the local Indian chiefs, in part because the leading one changed his name in medias res, the English military commander of the first colony, the largely absentee governor of the second, or the meaning of the letters « CRO » carved on the deserted fort.
Spain has another candidate, nearly as early as Jamestown, but because 1610s Santa Fe was founded in distant, dusty New Mexico, it has much less notice and only regional affection. The reason Hispanic places like St. Augustine and Santa Fe can’t compete with the Anglo likes of Jamestown and Plymouth is that the Spanish carry some burden of the Black Legend, the largely Protestant and intensely English attribution of preternatural cruelty, greed, and bloodthirst to Europe’s sixteenth-century heavyweight. Envying Spain’s success in becoming rich and carving out a global empire, the English had to believe in their own religious purity and colonial altruism. When Great Britain and later the new United States were able to reduce Spain to impotence in eastern North America, nationalistic historians on the winning side, as is their wont, effectively wrote the losers out of the story, except as a moral foil.
Jamestown suffers from some of the bad press that Roanoke and the Spanish presidios get. Its goals were unworthy of the new nation’s self-image, its early years were disastrous, its racial and ethnic record was shameful, and it barely survived into the eighteenth century.
As a creature of the Virginia Company of London, the joint-stock enterprise that sponsored the settlement, Jamestown was dominated by aggressive young men on the make. It attained none of its redeeming religious goals or moral schemes: profit for investors was its reason for being and martial law was often its mode of government. With an Anglican church and minister, it earned no historical credit as a refuge from religious persecution or bastion of tolerance. Gold lust and tobacco fever have never seemed worthy goads to colony or nation building, at least in retrospect.
Nor were the colony’s early years filled with inspiring triumphs over adversity. Because it was built on a salty malarial swamp of an island, in the middle of one of the most powerful Indian confederacies in eastern America—the Powhatan—Jamestown lost more settlers than it sustained. Poor planning, inadequate supplies, and self-aggrandizing leaders caused widespread mortality during the infamous Starving Time. Ham-handed relations with chief Powhatan’s bellicose tribes led to wholesale death, particularly during the equally infamous native uprising of 1622, in which a third of the colonists were killed. The royal takeover of the colony two years later certified the company’s failure to cope with American challenges. Another surprise attack in 1644, which killed some five hundred Virginians, was more than enough to destroy the illusion of repaired Anglo-Indian relations.
Long before Time-Warner film The New World, Jamestown provided the public with one icon of benign race relations. Americans feeling guilty about the nation’s treatment of its native peoples embraced a fanciful image of « princess » Pocahontas’s romance with Captain John Smith, her willing conversion to Christianity, and her happy marriage to tobacco planter and widower John Rolfe. It mattered not that a bachelor-soldier in his thirties like Smith was an unlikely love interest for an Indian girl not yet in her teens, that she was kidnapped by the English and forcibly converted by an Anglican minister to whose house she was committed, and that her much older farmer-husband said he married her not for « carnall affection » but for the good of the plantation, England’s honor, his own salvation, and the conversion of « an unbeleeving creature » to the true faith.
Jamestown has a better claim to iconic status on political grounds. In 1619, Virginia established an elected House of Burgesses to balance the near-dictatorial power of the governor and his council. This timid move toward representative democracy—only white, male heads of property-owning households could vote or hold office—might have been more memorable had the assembly not first met in a daub-and-wattle church long since vanished, making pilgrimages less feasible.
Equally inconvenient is the colony’s long and sordid history of black slavery, also begun in 1619 when a Dutch ship sold some of its African cargo as servants to labor-starved planters unable to obtain willing workers from the pugnacious Powhatans. When the town burned for the third time in 1693 and the colonial capital moved to Williamsburg six years later, visitors were left with one less reason to put the original settlement on their vacation itineraries.
When the National Park Service declared Jamestown a historic site in 1930, conducted archaeological excavations in 1934, and created a museum for the colony’s 350th anniversary, the town consisted of remnants of house foundations and the tower ruins of the fourth—and first brick—church, burned during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676. Since it was believed—mistakenly—that the original fort site had eroded into the James River, the town’s remains had the barest of interest for visitors; a newly built museum did little better.
To confound visitors more, and also in 1957, the state built an unfocused hodge-podge of a museum and replicas of the original fort and ships a short distance away on the mainland and called it Jamestown Festival Park—now Jamestown Settlement. This gave visitors a more accurate image of the founding English colony, but it was not on the original site and contained no authentic artifacts or monuments of iconic status.
Both sites, moreover, had to contend with the larger, more visitor-friendly, more patriotically oriented Rockefeller restoration of the colonial capital at Williamsburg, with its aesthetically pleasing Governor’s Palace and historically charged Capitol not far from the College of William and Mary’s restored Wren Building. Five miles from Jamestown, as the crow flies, the Revolution at Williamsburg trumped the founding in America’s memory.
All of these circumstances allowed Plymouth to lay first claim on the public’s attention, despite two minor similarities to its southern rivals. Like Roanoke, Plymouth might have been located in « Virginia. » The Pilgrims had permission from the Virginia Company to settle within its chartered territory as far as 41 degrees north. They were headed for the mouth of the Hudson River when they tangled with the sandy shoals of Cape Cod and chose to head north to an hospitable beach and a well-watered, partially cleared site soon to be christened Plimoth.
Like Jamestown, the Plymoth colony lost half its population during its first year. Its settlers had arrived after a two-month voyage and weeks on the Cape in the teeth of a New England winter, without housing or adequate food and supplies. But unlike the Virginians, they never thought of leaving or made the attempt. They came and continued to come in families, headed by God-fearing patriarchs. And they were determined to raise their children in a purified Calvinist faith, separated from what they saw as England’s social and ecclesiastical corruption and from the alien and worldly customs of the Dutch cities to which many of them had fled years before.
But Plymouth’s other advantages were more numerous and lodged it indelibly in the new nation’s mythic past. In addition to its religious mission and family orientation, Plymouth has at least half a dozen features that maintain its iconic lead over Jamestown. The first is the vessel of transfer. The Pilgrims came in the storied Mayflower, a single ship whose botanical name has graced a replica and is the instantly recognizable title of a current bestseller. The first Virginians made their passage in three unprepossessing craft, whose names are obscure even in Virginia households. When my teenage son worked as a Jamestown Settlement interpreter onboard the replica flagship Susan Constant, he was frequently asked whether the smaller Godspeed and Discovery were the Niña and the Pinta.
The Mayflower also lent its name to the compact that the passengers, lying off Cape Cod on November 11, 1620, drew up to govern themselves. Pledging « all due submission and obedience » to King James I, the forty-one adult male signers constituted themselves « a Civil Body Politic » for the making and execution of laws for « the general good of the Colony. » In all regards but one, this was an unexceptional document. Puritan church covenants were similar, and the Virginia Company had voted shortly after the Pilgrims left to allow leaders of « Particular Plantations » with their « gravest » advisors to establish laws and order until « a form of Government » could be « settled for them » in London. But the Pilgrims exercised an unusual degree of what their leader William Bradford called « liberty » because they had slipped beyond Virginia’s patent into New England, « which belonged to another government, with which the Virginia Company had nothing to do. » Virginia’s installation of an elected assembly the year before required no such derring-do.
When the Mayflower moved to Plymouth and some of its male passengers disembarked, they allegedly set foot on a two-hundred-ton boulder, set incongruously on the otherwise sand beach. There is no contemporary evidence for such an improbable landing—only the say-so of a ninety-five-year-old descendant of one of the founders—but the rocky advent has been immortalized in picture and verse ever since. As fixed as the rock is in America’s iconology, it moved around as much as the Pilgrims themselves and wound up twenty times smaller than it began. Sliced like a bagel in 1774 for removal to Liberty Tree Square, the mobile top half accidentally split in two half a century later before the whole was mortared back together and enshrined in a variety of monumental cages on the waterfront. There it reigns today, greatly diminished by waves, weather, and the incessant demands of modern pilgrims for souvenirs and talismans of America’s most famous arrival.
Compared with Jamestown’s relations with its native neighbors, Plymouth’s were a picnic. They did not begin that way on the Cape, where the hungry newcomers dug up Indian graves for keepsakes and caches of seed corn and helped themselves to choice items from abandoned wigwams. But they also carefully covered the graves and made restitution in trade goods as soon as they could. The presence of two English-speaking Indians, Samoset and Squanto, proved heaven-sent as the Saints navigated the tricky shoals of native politics and diplomacy. As every American schoolchild learns, Squanto also taught them how to plant Indian corn with fish fertilizer and other American secrets of survival.
The following autumn, at an unknown date, the Pilgrims invited the Wampanoag sachem Massasoit and some of his people to a traditional English harvest festival. Fortunately, the Indians contributed five deer to the three-day celebration; the hosts had not reckoned on feeding the ninety men the chief brought with him. This equally iconic celebration of the First Thanksgiving—despite Virginia’s claim of priority at Berkeley Plantation in 1619—was given lasting authority by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War when he declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Countless artists have done the rest.
If Plymouth’s historical assets were not enough to put it permanently ahead of Jamestown, it also enjoyed superior publicity. From the Revolution to late in the nineteenth century, New England was the arbiter, standard, and primary source of American culture. Its poets, novelists, orators, historians, and textbook writers saw to it that Plymouth became and remained America’s « first » and best-known colony. Plymouth’s last two centennials especially were grand occasions for reconfirming its place in the nation’s memory. And when the outdoor history museum Plimoth Plantation was mounted in 1947, a decade before the re-creation at Jamestown, the New Englanders’ lead was nigh insurmountable.
It remains to be seen whether the archaeological discoveries at the original fort and the rebuilt ships, reconfigured fort, and enlarged museum at Jamestown during its fourth centennial will give upstart Plymouth a run for its money.