On May 13th 1607 the three ships pulled ashore in Jamestown establishing the first permanent British settlement in Virginia. Today’s tour began at this historic site in what is today part of the Virginia Colonial triangle of historic sites. The Jamestown experience is a living museum with period actors and ground keepers maintaining the fort, it’s native Powhatan village, and the exhibits. Our two hours there were the perfect balance of docent-led talks and free time to roam.
The first arrivals consisted of 144 men and boys in search of the promised riches of gold and silver the Virginia Company had advertised its share sale with. Instead, they found mud, thick tropical vegetation, and hostile native tribes. Three hard years later, Virginia’s gold did arrive in the form of tobacco which led to a cash crop boom over the coming decades.
Our resident farmer and tobacco expert told us all about this cash crop, how it is harvested twice a year and the threat faced by thousands of blue worms that are hand picked daily to protect as many leaves as possible for harvest. Early tobacco was mostly chopped up and smoked in pipes by wealthy Englishmen.
Our afternoon was spent back near our hotel at Colonial Williamsburg at leisure. Stay tuned for more from that experience in my next blog.