Jamestown Discovery

If you are reading this, you are probably a blogger, so you can appreciate the thrill when the first customers come through the door, that moment when you begin to see readers show up in your access logs.  So I hope you’ll relive your moment of exhilaration with me as the first visitors have landed on the shores of my latest endeavor, The Jamestown Site.

It is ironic that it was a sensation not unlike what the natives must have experienced when they glimpsed the foreign ships off the coast of their ancient land.  At first I rubbed my eyes and surmised I was dreaming: there were seven visits reported to a page.  I’ve been working on the site awhile, and was busy with the chores of preparing the site for its official launch on the 400th anniversary of the First Landing of the Jamestown expedition, April 26th.  My recent adversities meant that it wasn’t going to be quite what I’d hoped.  I had even considered abandoning the project.  But I have two years invested.  More significantly, the Jamestown story is simply too compelling, too infinitely interesting, for me to abandon.

Indeed, the story of Jamestown is one of abandonment.  It is odd that Jamestown’s reputed significance is as the first permanent English settlement, considering the unsuitable swamp was within a century or so plowed under as the new Virginians sought higher ground at Williamsburg.  The nation’s founding myth itself was relinquished to the Pilgrims at Plymouth who arrived thirteen years later as part of historical revisionism after the Civil War.  Jamestown, where slaves first arrived in America, was simply erased from the national consciousness.

If it hadn’t been for a fabled love story between a white man and an Indian princess–and a Disney movie that made Pocahontas and John Smith names learned in childhood–Jamestown might have remained buried for another century.

As I said, there is much of interest.  If you are so inclined, visit The Jamestown Site. You will be one of the first. Just remember that, like the original site, it is in the throes of nativity.

— Michael Norton

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2 comments

  1. Matt

    wow. I’m impressed with how much you have there already and will definitely be back to snoop around.

    What was your take on “The New World?” I cant speak to it’s accuracy, but it certainly appeared to me to be an earnest effort to get past the typical Hollywood telling – well, except for Colin Farrell, who I cant pretend is a 17th century anything. Maybe the natives were painted as too virtuous, but overall, I thought it was a provocative, interesting movie.

    http://azdiamondhacks.mlblogs.com/

  2. SomeBallyard

    Matt,

    Thanks for the kudos. There will be much more to come over the coming months: what is there was really just preparatory. I envisioned the site as catching the wave of discovery for the quadracentennial, meaning the vast majority of the material is yet to come.

    Including my observations on The New World movie. The first time I saw it I was disappointed. It takes great liberalities with the historical facts. For example, John Smith had long ago returned to England when Pocahontas was kidnapped (the movie shows him shamed for resisting the kidnapping). But the more I came to understand just how critical the relationship between Smith and Pocahontas was to the success of the Jamestown venture, the more I began to appreciate the movie, which is really a love story, and a marvelous one at that. Historians hate that, but that is a commentary on history (the discipline), isn’t it? Which, of course, is another nugget gleaned from Jamestown.

    I will have much more about The New World movie, and John Smith and Pocahontas, on The Jamestown Site in the months to come. Join the fun 8)

    Thanks, again, for spending the time to appreciate my labors.

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