The Other Lost Colony

November 25th, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect:  There is a great article by Guy Trebay in the Travel Section of The New York Times this Sunday.  The title is Virginia's Lost History and what is lost is still there washingtonSMALLbut it seems that it is largely lost from memory.  Trebay writes about what is called the Northern Neck of Virginia.  It is two penninsulas north of the frequently visited Yorktown Penninsula, with the famous battlefield, the Jamestown Colony, historic Williamsburg and all the other tourist attractions.  And yet this historic region, bounded on the north by the Potomac River, on the east by Chesapeake Bay and on the south and southwest by the Rappahannock River was the craddle for more American presidents per square mile than any other location, by far.

Follow up:

Trebay has lived on the Northern Neck periodically (but briefly) and writes as easily about its current day rural charm and inhabitants as he does about the colonial history and the outsized influence of this small area on the birth of a nation.  He recounts that, although it was separated from the Jamestown colony by the tidal estuaries of both the York and the Rappahannock Rivers, the area was explored by Captain John Smith  in the early days of Jamestown.

The Northern Neck was settled and developed tobacco plantations, being lost forever by the eight Alogonquin tribes who had been the earlier settlers.  But tobacco was really a secondary crop.  From Trebay:

The British historian Arnold J. Toynbee once wrote that never was there a crop of genius such as was produced here in the colonial era. For the production of genius, it seems, Northern Neck soil was especially rich.

Read the rest of this charming and informative travelog at The New York Times.


John Lounsbury

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