All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Sunday, February 26, 2006

What If Popham Colony Had Survived?

The Little Colony That Couldn't—a feature in the current issue of Archaeology—includes this intriguing bit of speculation:
Emerson Baker, an associate professor at Salem State College in Salem, Massachusetts, points out that the Popham colonists, unlike the Pilgrims, were loyal to the monarchy and the Church of England. "If these people had succeeded, they probably could have controlled the fate of New England." They would not have allowed the Pilgrims to establish Plymouth Colony, or let the Puritans flourish in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to their south. "Perhaps, both politically and socially, New England might have been much more like Virginia, with an entirely different story of American history."

Or, as [archaeologist Jeffrey] Brain says, "the Pilgrims would be a footnote to history now, and Boston would no longer be the center of the universe. Somewhere up in Bath, or some place, would be where all the action's at." We would be a nation bereft of Thanksgiving, the Red Sox, and Boston baked beans. [p. 33]
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