Queen Elizabeth I died in the early 1600s. To honor the “virgin queen”, the landmass on the American central east coast was named Virginia. It was there that Jamestown was founded on May 14th, 200 years ago tomorrow. As a direct descendant of King James I, Queen Elizabeth II is visiting the US to give the celebration more significance.
Two sides of a coin already became obvious with the very beginning: High minded Puritans – Pilgrims – settled in the North, adventurous business minded emigrants chose the mild Mid Atlantic Coast. Business opportunity, isolationism, Hollywood, and Disney World seemed to be preprogrammed. King James had to make a move since all the sea-faring European powers – France, Spain, and Holland – were already established in the new world. He chartered the London Company, which in turn financed the Jamestowners and the Puritans. The London Company was supposed to make money and tobacco was the beginning. Slaves harvested the tobacco. It took 250 years for the puritan North to force the South to abolish slavery in the Civil War. But it took 400 years before the mayor of New York City would prohibit smoking in restaurants.
Hollywood has made several movies over the years about the romance of the Native American Princess, Pocahontas. She saved the leader of Jamestown, Smith, from being executed by her father. But she married someone else who took her to London, and introduced her to the King to draw support for the new colony. One descendant of Pocahontas is President Bush.
Before Disney World, there was already Williamsburg; the Rockefeller financed rebuilding of the first capital of Virginia. Our Peter was just two years old when we visited the area. A highway connects Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown, the site of the 1781 decisive battle of the war for Independence. The Puritans and the Virginians both practiced self government. They fought heroically for independence from the English and triumphed. Thus the first democracy of the New World came to be. The evolution from Pax Britain to Pax America was on its way as if it had been preprogrammed.