Plymouth, the place that launched a hundred world-changers
WHEN you wonder what we Plymothians should be proud of, these past adventurers and explorers come to mind. Drake, the Pilgrim Fathers, Cook, Brock, Darwin, Walt Disney... All these historical icons set sail from Plymouth Sound. For if Drake did not exist, we could be living in a very different nation.
Drake and his battles at home and abroad changed the way we look at the world. He discovered California, taught the Native Americans our ways, he circumnavigated the globe. We all owe a huge amount of gratitude to Drake and his adventures.
The Pilgrim Fathers set sail on the Mayflower to the new world, which know today as America. They changed the landscape, the people and the environment .Then they decided to kick the English out. They celebrate the July 4 Independence Day, then they celebrate thanks giving for us landing at Plymouth Rock; this is confusing!
Do most Plymothians know where the real Mayflower Steps are? (under the ladies' toilets in the public house). A distant relative of mine, Isaac Brock, a naval commander of the Northern Territories, also left on a ship from here and fought in many battles in North America. He won wars with the native Americans; this is why Canada was won for the British. His monuments border Canada's Niagara coast. There is a monument of Isaac Brock bigger then Nelson's Column in the suburbs of Toronto on Indian burial ground. He was born in St Peter Port, Guernsey, shot by a sniper in 1812 by a Kentuckian – and he was my great-great-grandmother Alice La Brock's uncle. She came to Plymouth as a fisherman's wife to escape the American sympathisers on Guernsey when he was at war with America. She loved it here so she stayed. I got a relative to put something on that memorial in Toronto as it was 200 years to his death in October.
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Charles Darwin set sail on the Beagle and we are all aware of his theory of evolution, that every living thing adapts to its own environment, and we are all still evolving. His theories are the way we humans see the world to this day.
Cook and his discovery of Cook Island: everybody loves spices. Walt Disney left from Millbay. His films made an impact on the world's minds, lifted spirits and gave people a laugh.
The list goes on: Smeaton, Scott; Pollard, the man who avenged Nelson's death by shooting the man who shot Nelson – he was from Cawsand. So my conclusion is that if it wasn't for a handful of ships leaving this Plymothian cove, would we all think and be the way we are today?