“Once discovered, it was changed forever.”
The Tagline from the Movie,
‘The New World.’
In the Year of our Lord 1606
A small fleet of three ships left England
And when the ships’ occupants set foot here
North America would never be the same again
They had ‘discovered’ a wondrous ‘old world’
That had gone unmolested for countless centuries
And they had encountered an ancient race of people
Who had lived here amidst nature’s bounty successfully
But when these Europeans established the colony of Jamestown
Beginning to settle and to multiply here upon these ancient shores
The magnificent landscape of America would soon change forever
The ancient lifestyle of these native peoples would soon be no more
New colonists intent on obtaining land and wealth in this ‘New World’
Began the persecution of its native peoples that lasted very many years
And what we’ve managed to do to this continent in only four centuries
Sadly brings many Native Americans and many conservationists to tears
I for one would have truly loved to have lived here in the very beginning
When this old ‘New World’ was undeveloped and waiting to be explored
And I for one would have truly loved traveling this once unmolested continent
Before ‘modern civilization’ came crashing down upon its once pristine shores
This new movie also had me seriously pondering the path mankind has taken on earth
Making me wonder if perhaps God had intended His children to live much simpler lives
In much better harmony with the wonders of nature on Earth’s splendid Garden of Eden
Instead we chose the arduous path to ‘civilized’ wealth power violent conquest and strife
Explorers had been landing in America for some time
before these settlers arrived on these three ships;
but it was with their arrival that the colonization of America began,
and with it, America’s recorded history.
In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of English entrepreneurs known as the Virginia Company to establish a permanent settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America. And in December of 1606, 108 intrepid men and boys sailed from England in three ships: the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery; having been instructed by their benefactors to settle this new colony of Virginia; to find gold and other precious resources in this ‘New World;’ and to chart a water route to the Orient – so more wealth and power could be obtained.
Set against a lush Virginia backdrop in the spring of 1607, this movie dramatizes the fierce antagonism that quickly erupts between these Europeans and these native peoples; and it also follows the relationship that develops between one of the Jamestown colonists, Captain John Smith – a soldier of fortune, and Matoaka – the youngest daughter of Chief Powhatan, King of the Algonquin Confederation.
Today, we know this young native woman as Pocahontas, which was actually her nickname – meaning ‘mischievous’ or ‘playful’ one. After Pocahontas is kidnapped by these Jamestown colonists and forced to be ‘Christianized,’ she eventually agrees to marry a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe, and her name is Anglicized to ‘Rebecca.’ Ironically, tobacco farming is the first profitable ‘American’ enterprise.
As a student of history, I was extremely interested in this historical tale; and as a nature lover, I was entranced by the marvelously pristine theatrical vision of what our now extremely congested eastern seaboard must have looked like – only 400 short years ago.
This movie opens with stunning scenes of sparkling water, merrily chirping songbirds, fish swimming peacefully along, insects doing what they are supposed to do, ancient peoples going about their very simple lives; and then, these native villagers nervously watching these three strange ships arriving on their soon to be invaded Virginia shoreline.
To me, the most captivating moments in this film revolve around the usually very sad inner thoughts of both Smith and Pocahontas – both now hopelessly trapped between two very different worlds. And to me, this is a movie about lost love, lost lifestyles and traditions, and in effect, an entire lost continent.
If you are intrigued by American history, Native American culture, or by Nature, I would highly recommend this film, although I found it to be quite sad.
I’ve always dreamt of a much simpler and far more serene life, surrounded by nature’s bounty, in Earth’s once pristine Garden of Eden. And, I, too, happen to be married to a Native American – also named Rebecca – who has very sadly lost much of her ancient heritage as well – a heritage which had once thrived and endured for thousands of years prior to the establishment of European colonies in North America.
©2006, Ed Kostro