The George Washington House
Having been rather busy creating a new country, George Washington only visited one foreign country during his entire lifetime.Liking to travel like I do, I think I would have left Ben Franklin home, and I would have gone to Europe!
George Washington who later became the first president of the United States , visited Barbados in 1751. He accompanied his half brother Lawrence who was dying of tuberculosis,at the time it was thought the warm and humid climate might effect a cure.
At this time there were three major cities in the developed world,London, Boston and Bridgetown, and travelers from Barbados were the some of the first to set up colonies in the Carolinas, therefore many Americans can trace their roots back to Barbados.
During Washington’s two month stay, he lived in what is now called the George Washington House. The house , now under control of the Barbados National Trust is a must see for all Americans . Not only will Americans want to visit, but people of all nations will gain much from a visit. A short visit will give many useful insights into life as it was in Barbados 250 years ago.
The residence , being furnished in the manner appropriate for the mid 1700s gives one the image of how life was back then. Not having the advantage of the conveniences of our modern day life, they had to “make do” with what they had to make life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Since Washington had contracted small pox, a disease that often resulted in death , if is only fitting and proper that many medical devices of the time are on display. It is important to note that he was healed by Dr. Lanaham, a third generation Barbadian who was a practitioner of “physick and surgery”. How the world would be different today if it hadn’t been for Dr. Lanaham. Washington stated many times in his life how divine intervention played a part in the course of history. I’m sure this was one of those times. Having contracted the disease and survived, he was now immune to it, a large factor in the American Revolution, as many soldiers died from a massive outbreak of the disease .
Many other items on display remind visitors of not only the lifestyle of Barbados in that era, but also of the influence Barbados had on the young Major.
Barbados was at that time, a major hub for trade in the Caribbean, it had one of the best fortified coast lines in the British Caribbean. The knowledge gained by Washington during this visit surely played a major role later in life when he labored for American Independence.
Being a passionate landowner and superb horseman, Washington learned much of the new agricultural technology being employed in Barbados. Green technology was alive and well , as sugar cane was being used as fuel, and the waste from cattle was spread on the fields to replenish the soil after being depleted from continuous sugar cane farming. An interesting side note tells us that grapefruit originated in Barbados. I still don’t like it.
Washington struggled all his life with the issue of slavery, being a land owner, he owned slaves,and knew they should be freed, however many circumstances lead to the reality that it would be a while before the black man could gain his freedom.
George Washington did seek to free his own slaves but, according to the information presented, he and his wife together owned some 300 slaves and “It would have cost nearly £6,000 to free them all. His plantations made only £900 a
Besides that, the southern colonies would have never ratified the U.S. constitution if slavery was ruled unconstitutional. So, “the question of slavery had to be left for another generation to resolve.”
The author has been a writer/ photographer for over 20 years, specializing in nature, landscapes and studying native cultures. Besides visiting most of the United States, he has traveled to such places as Egypt, the Canary Islands, much of the Caribbean. He has studied the Mayan Cultures in Central America and the Australian Aboriginal way of life.Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in many different parts of the world!
He has published several books about the various cultures he has observed.
For more information and a link to his hardcover and Ebooks, and contact information: please check his website, http://www.journeysthrulife.com.
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