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July 10, 2012 / M.E.

Jamestown. Virginia

Note: I have incorporated the link to the Pocahontas soundtrack to go along with the adventure that we took to Jamestown as I feel this will truly enhance your reading experience!

Our trip to Jamestown can only be accounted for as Pocahontas enthusiasm. I guess it is sad that I relate the history of the first settlement in America to a Disney movie but I couldn’t help myself. I remember the first time that I saw Disney’s Pocahontas. Finally a Disney character that ran through corn fields, canoed the river bends, tasted the sun-sweet berries of the earth and painted with all the colors of the wind…I was hooked. I had the t-shirt, the VHS and the soundtrack on cassette (which I still have to this day). Needless to say I was excited to see all of my 8-year-old Pocahontas expectations come to life.

We took the free shuttle from Yorktown to Williamsburg and from Williamsburg transferred to another shuttle which took us to Historic Jamestown. Please let me note that at this point Pocahontas fever had taken over and I sang songs from the Pocahontas soundtrack to Matt the entire voyage there. (See  “Just Around The Riverbend” track)

We arrived in Jamestown, walked through the National Park Service doors and were there greeted with the sad reminders that with all things wonderful there comes a price. Ten dollars for a sticker that allows you entry to see a piece of history?! I was heartbroken. No student discount. No Triple A discount. Nothing. Matt knew how excited I was so he was willing to pay the price. As we approached the counter, the park ranger welcomed us and asked us how our day was going. I, of course, wasn’t hesitant in expressing my utter disappointment for the over priced entry fee to see a piece of American history. Perhaps it was my, “This is our one opportunity to see a piece of history…” line, as I drew the wallet out of the backpack pocket but just as soon as I started to pull out those precious dollar bills, the park ranger slipped us the coveted stickers. I literally had tears well up in my eyes as I put my sticker on. We were in!

It didn’t take long for me to burst out through the doors, walk hastily along a boardwalk and straight to the monument dedicated to the Virginia Company. (See “The Virginia Company” track)

Down the trail we went towards the Pocahontas statue. I wasn’t expecting the Disney Pocahontas, in fact, my fascination with Pocahontas may have started with the Disney movie but in all honesty, my fascination is focused more by what an amazing person she must have been in real life. Pocahontas was only 22 years old when she died in England. Her life was short but she did great and profound things while she lived. She supposedly saved John Smith’s life from the hand of her father, Powhatan. She married John Rolfe, a settler from Jamestown, thus forging a peaceful relationship between the Indians and settlers for generations. She sailed across the Atlantic and was received by Queen Anne. Perhaps you can understand a little better now, why I think Pocahontas is so incredible! (See “Colors of the Wind” track)

At the sight of where Jamestown was founded, an archeology group was working on an excavation. (See “Mine, Mine, Mine” track)

On to the John Smith statue. Again, Disney made John Smith look way more good looking than he was in real life.

A few things to know about John Smith that you may not have known.

1. John Smith was a slave at one point in time. He fought as a soldier in the Netherlands and Hungary until he was captured and sold into slavery in Russia. He escaped from his master in Russia by murdering him and making his way back to Hungary. When he made it back to England, he joined the expedition to form a settlement in Jamestown.

2. He was a mapmaker. During the summer of 1608, he explored and mapped the Chesapeake during a 3,000 mile voyage in an open boat. He also explored and mapped the coastline from Cape Cod to Maine.

3. He was elected as governor of Jamestown for a one-year term in 1608.

After walking around in the heat for a bit, we made our way to the Archaearium, a museum on the Jamestown grounds. Here we investigated the uncovered relics of the historic Jamestown settlement. It’s incredible how many items archeologists have been able to uncover over the years and how many different places these items have come from.

Most of the glass beads that were brought from England during the colonization of Jamestown were made in Venice, Italy and were used in trade with the Indians.

The jug above was made in Frechen, Germany in the early 17th century.

Archeologists suggest that this shark tooth fossil was found by a settler on the James River Beach.

Freshwater pearls were highly valued by both the Indians and settlers.

The settlers believed in mermaids! This mermaid mount was meant for attaching onto a box or leather belt. The mermaid holding a mirror and comb was a popular motif in the 17th century.

As we left the Jamestown settlement  for Williamsburg, I was happy to have seen such a remarkable piece of history. This wasn’t the land of the Disney Pocahontas. It was the land of the real Pocahontas. A land where people had actually lived and breathed and worked hard to make this land a great one.


Leave a Comment
  1. Talita Ranquini / Apr 30 2015 6:09 pm

    Hi! My name is Talita and I’m from Brazil. I’m a teacher and I’m finishing a college. I study English in college and I need to do a work about American Facts. Of course I chose Pocahontas. I love this Disney’s film since I was a little girl and I still love it to this day. I’m in love with your trip to Jamestown and it will be a dream for me to meet this incredible history. Even Pocahontas is not as well known, she was a heroíne and because it I love her and her history so much! May I use a little of your trip to my work? I will so greateful for this. I hope you read my comment. Kisses!

  2. jacquelinefcolman / May 27 2015 3:25 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that geeked out at Jamestown! I ran around singing all the songs from the movie too! I was amazing to see the actual shores where John Smith sailed (strange…clouds?)

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