Have you ever wondered how towns discovered their identities and names? Creative alternatives abound when thinking caps are put on. The culture and heritage of a town in Barbados is a good example. Barbados itself, a 166 square mile island, is the eastern-most Caribbean island. Barbados has carved out its own distinctive identity in tourism by drawing on its English, African, and West Indian Roots, which is today quite evident in its customs, traditions, and values.Tourists enjoy the passionate expression of this culture through the rich history, exceptional cuisine, and artistic talents of the places and people they visit in Barbados.
Located near the Southwestern shores of this country along the coast at Carlisle Bay, lies the colorful capitol city of Bridgetown, also the largest city of the nation Barbados. As early as the 1500’s in the little area called Indian Bridge, the construction of a crude bridge was undertaken by early Indian settlers seeking to span the swampy region of the tropics. Later settlers, who drained and filled in the area to make way for development, called it the Town of Saint Michael, as it was located within the parish of Saint Michael.
Sometime after 1654, a new bridge was constructed over the Constitution River and Bridgetown was established. Locals, numbering less than 100,000 (roughly 1/3 of the entire population of Barbados) often refer to today’s thriving city of Bridgetown simply as “The City” and more often as just “Town.”
Bridgetown has become a major West Indies tourist destination and is presently the home-port for cruise ships in the Caribbean region. When visiting Barbados you will want to find an experienced Barbadian Tour guide to reveal the secrets and the drama that make a place and people live forever in your mind. Stay tuned in to Guide To The Past for more Rich History.
Jamestown, Virginia, is rich in American History. As your Guide To The Past, let’s explore its beginnings. Jamestown was still part of England by the 17th century under the ruling of King James I. In 1606, King James I sent two companies made up of merchant adventurers with three objectives: to find gold; to find a route to the South Seas; and to find the Colony Roanoke.
A recorded log tells us that these companies set out to the New World on ships and crossed the Atlantic Ocean. After six weeks, the ships landed on a semi-island in May of 1607. Within a month they were able to complete the building of a large triangle fort on the banks of a river that the Indians knew as “Powhantan’s River.” The settlers named it James, after the King. At first the Indians were friendly and the climate seemed mild, but then came blistering heat, swarms of insects, unfit water supplies, starvation, fierce winters, and Indian attacks. This new dream land became almost a nightmare.
Most of the settlers were men who were so-called “gentlemen.” These men, often lesser scions of nobility, didn’t know how to farm or how to hunt. They were lured by the Virginia company with promises of land and wealth. But there was no gold in Virginia, and they faced the hostility of the Indians who were attacking them. The only man who had been able to keep any peace, with both the colony and the Indians, was John Smith. By 1609, the settlers suffered a series of catastrophes and hundreds of them died.
In May of 1610, after John Smith left Jamestown and returned to England, conditions became worse. The colonists were suffering from starvation and were eating anything such as rats, pets, mice, and even resorted to cannibalism to survive. Nearly 90% of the colony population died during that winter.
Just when the future looked dark and hopeless for Jamestown, there was a brink of light. Four years later ships from England arrived, bringing food and 150 new colonists. Among them was John Rolfe who began to grow tobacco. By 1614, in what has been called the most momentous event in the 17th century, the first shipment of Virginia Tobacco was sold in London. By 1619 Jamestown had exported 10 tons of tobacco to Europe and was a boom town!
By 1639 Jamestown had exported 750 tons of tobacco. Tobacco was the American colonies’ chief export. The Jamestown colonists had not found gold, nor a route to the South Seas, but they found tobacco. Tobacco can well be credited with making Jamestown the first permanent English colony in The New World.