Okay, I am embarrassed that I have grown up a snob about being a Mayflower descendant. My parents were more than proud to be and passed this “honor” on to me. I went to public school and it taught me that Pilgrims were very special and every fall we studied the Pilgrims and made projects about them and just generally bought and sold the USA dogma about the Pilgrims.
Now, I never really thought about the story much – in spite of a lot of historical studies and a lifetime of cumulative information, to the contrary, I still had Pilgrims the first community of settlers in North America.
For some reason, I was thinking about them the other day and it hit me that Jamestown should, at least be the primary colony taught about in elementary schools. Jamestown was founded in 1607. My propagandized brain put Jamestown’s John Smith in Plymouth! Except when I thought twice about it I knew better – but I think that my logical brain figured that if I believed Plymouth was first, then John Smith, Pocahontas, Standish and Pricilla must be in Plymouth. (I knew better).
With a little more thought, I came up with the xenophobic idea that we also dismissed Quebec City at 1608; Saint Augustine at 1565 (let alone San Juan at 1509!).
How about New Amsterdam in 1624-25? I know it was a little later, but it was a successful enterprise from the start. They traded with the First Peoples, they laid out streets that we would still be recognized today. They had successful self-government, they had censuses and such while Plymouth was trying to grow their first successful crop. New Amsterdam, mapped, fenced and provided a fort with protection while others were living like troglodytes.
Plymouth and Jamestown both were almost as bad at colonizing as Roanoke. Do we just like that they almost failed, that they suffered so much. I do not know the death numbers for Jamestown, but Plymouth lost about half (if I remember right).
My family was part of the Scrooby Separatists, the Dutch Brownists, then Puritan Separatist Pilgrims. All that moving around, you would have thought that they would give a little more thought to survival.
Did we just put the Pilgrims up on a pedestal because, why? They were not social, they did not like their kids mixing with others – part of the reason that the New World looked good was that their kids were getting a little ‘dutchified’ when they were in the Netherland – And in spite of the fact that this was a Protestant country and tolerant of others. So, these tortured souls didn’t really need to move to get religious freedom; and in spite of the English displeasure with the Separatists, they allowed them into the colonies (or did they dispose of a group of religious holier than thou folks that way?).
All things being equal, I am embarrassed that for so long I have helped perpetuate this exaggeration! I could be wrong.
Source: reddit post