We don’t often think about how the Fall of Orthodox Constantinople in 1453 can be connected to early English colonisation in the New World. Perhaps this tombstone in a graveyard in Barbados should make us think again:
Here lyeth ye body of Ferdinando Paleologus, descended from ye imperial lyne of ye last Christian emperors of Greece, Church Warden of this parish, 1655-1656, Vestryman twentye years, Died October 3, 1678.
For those who would like to know more about the background to this story there are two very good posts at this link: http://historum.com/american-history/47938-ferdinando-palaeologus-tomb-barbados.html
These posts establish a connection to Captain John Smith of Jamestown and Pocahontas fame but do not mention that Smith was taught Greek by Ferdinando Paleologos’s father Theodore. There is also an interesting short video about the grave of Theodore Paleologos (in St. Leonard and St. Dilpe Church, Landulph, Cornwall), shown below. This parish church is the burial place of Theodore Paleologus who died in 1636, descendant of the brother of Emperor Constantine XI of Byzantium, the last Christian emperor before it fell to the Turks in 1453.