The wreck of the Sea Venture on Bermuda on July 28, 1609 and the role its survivors played in the eventual rescue of the failing colony at Jamestown are dramatic tales from the founding years of our nation. A little-known but well-speculated fact is that Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” gathered inspiration from the event also.
The Sea Venture, sailing from England to the desperately needy Jamestown with supplies, was wrecked off the future colony of Bermuda. Although believed lost, the castaways survived for 10 months and then reluctantly finished the sail to Jamestown.
Upon their arrival, they found a starving, almost completely decimated colony.
Nearly successful in convincing Gates to abandon the endeavor, the fates intervened when another Virginia Company fleet vessel arrived as they were exiting the James River bound for England, and Gates turned around to salvage the Jamestown colony as well as England’s interest in the New World.
“As the battered Sea Venture headed for an island grounding on July 28, 1609, the voyagers guessed that they were landing on haunted Bermuda.”
From the History News Network article; “Thus it may be said that July 28, 2009 marks two quadricentennials. One is the unintended founding of Bermuda by castaways who came ashore on a rain-whipped day in 1609. The other is the birthday of a sprite, a wild man, and a mercurial magician, characters given life when a Jamestown shipwreck captured the imagination of a literary master and inspired an enduring tale called The Tempest”
History News Network article “A Jamestown Shipwreck 400 Years Ago this Month Awakened Shakespeare’s Muse”