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FROM: Don Reynolds (e-mail him)
Re: The Fulford File, Virginia Dare's Birthday And The New Colonizers
One of my favorite George Washington stories concerned his 20th birthday in the year 1752. That was the year that the English-speaking world adopted the Catholic calendar (Gregorian) and stopped using the Roman calendar (Julian). There was some confusion because there was eleven days difference between the two calendars, so dates for many years would be suffixed with "OS" for old style or "NS" for new style calendar. Everyone had a choice, either keep their old birth date or add eleven days to be consistent with the new calendar. George Washington added eleven days to his birthday, so we know it today as February 22nd.....but when he was born, the calendar was February 11th.
The same would be true of Virginia Dare's birthday. So it would be August 18th, 1587 (OS) or equally written as August 28th, 1587 (NS), consistent with the calendar we use today.
Just what Paul Harvey would call...."the rest of the story".
James Fulford comments: This comes up in histories of the Spanish Armada. (It was the war with Spain that caused the Roanoke Colony to be marooned.) The problem for historians is that the log of a Spanish ship will say "The English opened fire on us about noon on the eleventh," and the log of an English ship will say "We opened fire upon the Spanish about noon on the first of August," and it's actually the same day. But as Garrett Mattingly wrote in The Defeat Of The Spanish Armada, ordinary readers find dates "repulsive enough without encountering them disguised as fractions" (i.e. August 18/28).