"...my capture and the extraordinary occurrences:" Don Diego De Molina, Captive and Spy
June 16, 2011
Meet Don Diego de Molina, a Spanish commander, who was held captive at James Fort in 1611 on Saturday, June 25 at 11 am, 1 pm & 2:30 pm. Visitors will encounter Molina and learn about his capture and experience at James Fort. These programs will be held in the Memorial Church. While on site, guests can also meet the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists who will be on hand to provide information about the current fort excavations from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
In June 1611, a Spanish warship anchored near the English Fort Algernon at Point Comfort near the mouth of the James River. When Don Diego De Molina and two of his crew stepped ashore, they were surrounded by 50 Englishmen and marched off as prisoners.
Peace was settled between England and Spain just before the founding of Jamestown in 1607 -- but Spanish spies kept a close eye on the settlement and its threat to a century of Spanish rule in the Americas. Governor Thomas Dale worried that Molina was sent ahead to scout the Virginia coast for a Spanish attack fleet yet to come -- "What may be the danger of this unto us who are here so few, so weake and unfortified," Dale wrote.
Under close arrest at James Fort, Molina quickly learned how desperate the conditions were the Englishmen "held captives by their masters." Some of the details we know today about life in the fort come from reports Molina smuggled out of the colony and back to Spain.
This program is free with paid admission to Historic Jamestowne. Admission is $10 per adult and also includes Yorktown Battlefield, part of the Colonial National Historical Park. Children under age 16 are admitted free. American the Beautiful park passes are accepted and Preservation Virginia members also receive free admission.
Historic Jamestowne is jointly administered by the National Park Service and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (on behalf of Preservation Virginia) and preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Preservation Virginia and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation formed a new collaboration in the fall of 2010 with the goal of connecting the histories of Jamestown and Williamsburg through compelling stories of discovery, diversity and democracy. This initiative brings together experts from Historic Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg to enhance public archaeology and create a broader, more cohesive guest experience.
Visitors to Historic Jamestowne share the moment of discovery with archaeologists and witness archaeology in action at the 1607 James Fort excavation April-October; learn about the Jamestown Rediscovery excavation at the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium, the site's archaeology museum; tour the original 17th-century church tower and reconstructed 17th-century Jamestown Memorial Church; and take a walking tour with a Park Ranger through the New Towne area along the scenic James River. For further information, visit www.HistoricJamestowne.org or call (757) 229-4997 or (757) 898-2410.