Friday, February 14, 2014

1616 - Pocahontas sets sail to England




April, 1616 - Sir Thomas Dale resignes as governor of Virginia for the benefit of George Yardley.
He will never return in Virginia but publishes about it a book entitled " A True Relation of the State of Virginia, Left by Sir Thomas Dale, Knight, in last May, on 1616 ".

George Yeardley (Southwark, 1588-1627)
Plantation owner, he was three times governor of Virginia.
From a very old Staffordshire family, one of his ancestors having even witnessed the Magna Carta granted by king John in 1215, he was baptized in Southwark, Surrey on June 28, 1588, son of Ralph Yeardley, tailor in London and of Rhoda Marston. He would not work as his father, preferring the military career. He underwent, in this regard, baptism of fire in Holland where his infantry company was sent to fight the Spaniards. Plucky and combative, Yardley was quickly upgraded to captain and served under Thomas Gates who had just been appointed Lieutenant-General of Virginia.
He left for Jamestown on June 1, 1609 aboard the Sea Venture, commanded by Admiral George Somers and captain Christopher Newport. After seven weeks at sea, the fleet was dispersed in a storm and his ship wrecked on the Bermuda shore. No loss of life was fortunately to number but dissensions among the survivors obliged Thomas Gates to impose martial law. It took then ten months to build two new boats named the Deliverance and the Patience and allow the settlers to set sail to Jamestown.
They reached Virginia on May 23, 1610 but discovered, stunned, a colony wiped out by starvation, disease and Indians weapons. The situation seemed so desperate that Sir Thomas Gates agreed to leave the place and repatriate the survivors to England. He ordered captain George Yeardley to make so that the settlers would not set fire to buildings during their evacuation. This is when Lord De La Warr arrived timely with supplies for the colony.
GeorgesYeardley was appointed co-commander of Fort Henry and Fort Charles at Kecoughtan before being sent to the mountains with Captain Brewster and a company of 150 men in search of gold and silver mines.
In 1613, Yeardley married Temperence Flowerdrew, a native of Norfolk. She had arrived in Virginia in August, 1609 aboard the Falcon.
He was appointed Deputy Governor of Virginia in 1616 instead of Sir Thomas Dale. After returning to England once his office completed, he was knighted in Newmarket, November 24, 1618 and learned a few days later that he had just been appointed governor of Virginia for a second term. He was then granted a 300 acre-plantation as compensation for the expenses bound to this new responsibility.
One of his first spots was to conclude an agreement with the Chickahominy intended to ensure food and peace for at least two years.
[01/15/1617]

Chickahominy - Algonquin speaking Native American people settled on the banks of the river which bears their name in the present-day Charles City and New Kent Counties, Virginia. They were allied to Chief Powhatan Wahunsonacock when the first English settled in Jamestown. They had to abandon much of their territory after vainly attempted to drive the colonists in 1646.

June 2, 1616 - Left late April from Jamestown aboard the Treasurer, John Rolfe, his wife Pocahontas (Mrs Rebecca Rolfe), their son Thomas, about 1 year old, and former governor Thomas Dale land in Plymouth. They come with a group of a dozen Powhatan.

Captained by Master John Hope, the Treasurer, 100 tons, hauled 224 lbs tobacco coming from Rolfe's plantation.

Facing difficulties to entice new settlers and investors, the rulers of Virginia used Pocahontas to convince the Europeans that the Indians were pacified and the colony become sure. It was thus about a real promotional campaign.
In turn, John Rolfe and Thomas Dale came with the intention to seek customers for Virginia tobacco.

Pocahontas and her husband settled in London. Known as Lady Rebecca, she took part in many rallies where she aroused so curiosity as respect due to her princess's rank in her home country. She was received by the archbishop of London and presented to King James 1 and Queen Charlotte on January 5, 1617, during a ball at the Court.
She had also the opportunity to meet John Smith but their reunion fizzled out and she hastened to turn away without saying a word. She had been told for years that he had died and was accustomed to the idea although it was false. The confrontation was certainly too appalling, even unbearable. Her attitude since raised many questions about the true nature of their relationship during the years 1607- 1609 and to the real credit to give to events revealed late by Smith. Would she have been in love with him? And if Smith had claimed that she had saved his life only to show to what extent she had been important for him?


In March 1617, John Rolfe and Pocahontas took the way back to Virginia but the young woman had resented the stale and foggy air of the English capital. She fell seriously sick while their ship had not yet reached the mouth of the Thames. It had to stop at Gravesend where she was landed to die from smallpox on March 17. She was just 22 years old. [03/07/1617]

1616 - defeated the previous year by the Massachusetts warriors sent by grand Sachem Nanepashemet, the Tarratines decide to take revenge by deploying their men through the province of Maine to ransack the coastal tribes up to Narragansett Bay.

This expedition occurred in retaliation to the capture of women and children of their tribe to which ransom proposals had failed. Left Pemaquid aboard a real army of canoes, the Tarratines landed in Massachusetts Bay and were engaged in a real massacre, sparing no human life. Nanepashemet had to abandon hastily his residence in Naumkeag (Salem) to take refuge to Mistic (Medford) in a real fortress protected by a palisade and approachable only by using ladders.
The flight of Nanepashemet spread confusion within his nation, left virtually leaderless. Most of the neighboring tribes preferred then to seek new alliances. Some joined the Pawtuckets led by Passaconaway and the coastal border tribes turned to Chikataubet, sachem of Passonagessit (Weymouth).

December, 1616 - Pocahontas attends a performance of "The Vision of Delight", a play especially written for the occasion by Ben Johnson.


London in 1616

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