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George Washington

George Washington in Barbados

Written by Julie Greiner

George Washington is perhaps the most famous American to date. In 1751 George Washington and his brother Lawrence retreated to Barbados for a seven week stay. It has been confirmed that they rented the home of a British army officer which is now known as the Bush Hill House. In November 1751 when young George was only 19 years old he came to Barbados in November. He left behind an undeveloped colony and entered a more advanced world of cultural sophistication. Bridgetown would have been the largest city he had seen in his life. At this time, Bridgetown was the largest city in the English speaking world. Just think, this tiny spot on a map today, Barbados, was not that at all back then. Barbados was the only place that George Washington ever visited outside of the Barbados United States. Barbados exported sugar, rum, molasses and imported mostly food and building supplies from America.

George's elder brother Lawrence was very ill with a long term ailment. Back then Barbados was known as a health spa known for treatment of lung and respiratory ailments. The Washington brothers had close ties with family members who resided on Barbados, and so there has been an actual record kept of George's visit. In his diary he writes of how they searched for suitable lodging and settled on the house of Captain Croftain, Commander of James Fort, despite the fact that they thought the rent to be extravagantly deer, 15 pounds per month. Some of the farming methods that he later employed on his farm Mount Vernon were probably witnessed by him while in Barbados. Such as crop rotation and the use of lime to reduce soil acidity.

General Robert E. Lee

At this time Barbados was the hub of the Northern Atlantic and would have been visited by many intellectuals and learned people. This would have made quite an impression on young George Washington. It was here that he attended his first real theatre performance and while on Barbados young George Washington came down with a case of smallpox. However, his physician successfully treated him and he survived. During the American War of Independence, many years later, his acquired amunity to smallpox probably Sunset saved his life because this virus spread rapidly throughout his troupes.

Recent research has revealed that two of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were of Barbadian origin. Two Civil War generals - Meade of the Union and Lee of the Confederacy were also of Barbadian descent. The Austin family is among the great pioneers of the west, they settled Austin, Texas.



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