Wednesday, July 4, 2012

History on the Fourth

Since today was a national holiday celebrating the freedom of our country, we got a day off from our class. Ms. Kaplan picked us up around 10 and we met up with Brown II at Hotel Providence. Once everyone was ready to go, we loaded up the cars and made our way to Massachusetts.

A Wampanoag Home
We went to Plimouth Plantation where we got to see a reproduction of a 17th century English Village, a Native People called the Wampanoag Homesite from the 17th century, and the Mayflower II. Our first stop was the Wampanoag Homesite where we got to see exactly how the Native Peoples of that time lived. There were people who were dressed in the traditional clothing and even came from Wampanoag ancestry (although not all of them) there to answer our questions. While they didn't speak in their traditional language, we did manage to get one of the staff members to say a greeting to us. It was very fascinating to hear how they lived, and lived prosperously. The Wampanoag people were big believers in the value of women even in the 17th century. Many of their chiefs were woman and woman were considered the center of the household. Women were even the ones who did the proposing of marriage to men. This was a very different situation from the English settlers they would later meet.

After we were done exploring there, we made our way to the 17th-Century English Village. Here, the staff members were also dressed in traditional clothing but, they spoke with the same language that would have been used during that time. When you asked questions that didn't happen until later on in history, they would act as if they had no knowledge of any sort of activities. They portrayed the actions and beliefs of the people during that time brilliantly, making me feel as if I had actually gone through a time machine. Walking through the different homes on this site were truly fascinating. Their homes were obviously much more modest than homes today, but they were still very efficient.

Two Woman in Character of  typical 17th-Century English
Once we finished, we all boarded back into the car and headed to see Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II. When we arrived at Plymouth Rock we were lucky enough to catch a staff member from a nearby museum telling the story of the Rock. We are told that normally no one is there to narrate to the audience so that was a pretty cool experience. Before heading to the Mayflower II we made a little detour and grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby eatery. The hot and humid weather had increased the hunger in my stomach to the point were my food was gone as quickly as I got it. After I grabbed some soft served ice cream, we made our way to the Mayflower II.

Mayflower II

The Mayflower II is a recreation of the original Mayflower that brought the pilgrims from England to what we now know as the United States. We explored the ship and talked to the informational guide about the history of the ship. On the deck below, there was an man who was playing the character of the 17th Century captain of the Mayflower. It was cool to be able to ask him questions and listen to his stories. On the next level down was were the passengers would live while on this voyage. The Mayflower held 130 people with only 102 making it to Plymouth Rock. Seeing the little space they had made it hard for me to imagine myself on that voyage.

We ended the beautiful day at India Point Park near Brown University, watching fireworks and enjoying the pleasant weather. With the Fourth of July now behind us, Brown I now has only 4 days until we are back home in the Bay Area. Tomorrow is our Macroeconomics final which is something I never realized would come so quickly. With only two more days of class I plan to completely relish in every second of the rest of my time in Providence. 

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