Today on Days to remember we celebrate how on May 21st 1602, Martha’s Vineyard was first sighted by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold.
Martha’s Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, known for being an affluent summer colony.
It includes the smaller Chappaquiddick Island, which is usually connected to the larger island, though storms and hurricanes have been known to separate the two islands.
The last such separation of the islands was in 2007, and as of April 2, 2015, the two islands are again connected.
Often called just “The Vineyard” the island has a land area of 100 square miles.
It’s the 58th largest island in the United States and the third largest on the East Coast of the United States, after Long Island and Mount Desert Island.
A smaller island to the south was named “Martha’s Vineyard” by the English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, who sailed to the island in 1602.
Bartholomew Gosnold was an English lawyer, explorer, and privateer who were instrumental in founding the Virginia Company of London, and Jamestown in colonial America. He led the first recorded European expedition to Cape Cod. He is considered by Preservation Virginia (formerly known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.
He obtained backing to attempt to found an English colony in the New World and in 1602 he sailed from Falmouth, England in a small Dartmouth bark, the Concord, with thirty-two on board.
Following the coastline for several days, he discovered Martha’s Vineyard and named it after his deceased daughter, Martha, and the wild grapes that covered much of the land.
Gosnold established a small post on Cuttyhunk Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands, near Gosnold, now in Massachusetts.
Like the nearby island of Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard was brought to prominence in the 19th century by the whaling industry, during which ships were sent around the world to hunt whales for their oil and blubber.
The discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania gave rise to a cheaper source of oil for lamps and led to an almost complete collapse of the industry by 1870.
During the whaling era, wealthy Boston sea captains and merchant traders often created estates on Martha’s Vineyard with their trading profits.
Today, the Vineyard has become one of the Northeast’s most prominent summering havens, having attracted numerous celebrity regulars, but on May 21st 1602, Martha’s Vineyard was first sighted by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell