Wednesday, January 23, 2008

George Washington House, Barbados and Smallpox

Unfortunately, I've been housebound this week because I've been having some problems with the severe cold weather affecting my asthma. If I were able to, I would have traveled to Florida or the Caribbean much the same as Lawrence Washington and his half brother George did in 1750, when the future father of our country was 18.

While this journey must have been initially quite exciting for young Washington, it was a bittersweet time. This stay in Barbados was no picnic. Young George not only watched his brother grow weaker from tuburculosis, but contracted a mild case of TB himself, as well as a nearly fatal case of small pox.

The TB was to affect him intermittantly throughout his life; he also suffered from malaria and other ailments.

However, it was because of this exposure to smallpox that he was able to survive the French and Indian War and American War for Independence. During the six month encampment at Valley Forge, Gen. Washington secretly had his men (and perhaps camp followers) innoculated with cowpox thus becoming the first military man to protect his troops against disease in this way. It was considered his secret weapon - a type of biological warfare.

More on smallpox, Barbados, and Lawrence Washington this weekend, when I'm feeling better.

Until then, stop by the official website or Barbados tourism website and say, "Hello" and "Thank you!", for all their care and respect. Donations would gladly be accepted for their continued work and upkeep.

What a wonderful stop on one of your Caribbean holidays and/or cruises!

Monday, January 14, 2008