English: Sign for the Albion Albion is a poeti...

English: Sign for the Albion Albion is a poetic name for Britain, which is probably based on the Latin ‘albus’ meaning white, which is a reference to the whiteness of the chalk cliffs of the southern coastal cliffs. There are also many ships called the Albion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albion was the first recorded name for the isle of Britain. In the 6th century B.C., the Greeks called this “the island of Albiones”. This usage persisted for a thousand years according to David Fischer (1989). Later the connotation changed: The Romans made Albion into a Latin pun “albus” meaning white for the cliffs of Dover; Germany  still erroneously translates Albion into Weissland or “white land”; Albion in French  became a pejorative for  a nation who talked the talk but did not walk the walk or who preached high ideals , however, did not practice same ( an example of this is when Napoleon’s sneered against “Albion Perfidy.”  By the 19th century, poets made Albion into an ornate alias for England and not Britain, which was its original meaning.


Why am I concerned with Albion? Those 20 percent of Americans who can claim English ancestry might be interested in this information because all the souls traversing the Atlantic between 1630 and 1640, all the souls on the198 vessels (some think it might have been 298) could all trace their lineage back to Albion.  Arbella sailed for Massachusetts in 1630 and had some high-ranking officials but most were from the middle class. Below deck was a virtual Noah’s ark.  In all, seventeen vessels sailed during this period with approximately 100 souls aboard each vessels. Therefore, around 21,000 immigrants landed on the shores of the new country to begin a new life. They multiplied rapidly and spread out across this vast country.


My ancestors fled England migrating to Scotland and then Ireland. They landed in South Carolina so I don’t know it I could trace my DNA back to Albion or not. This is really not a history lesson; nor a DNA lesson: this is a bored Sunday afternoon musing.


Do you know where you came from? Do you know who you are? Do you know what it all means?


There are those who might answer we all came from God and I have no problem with that answer, however, I must have a more detailed answer than this, therefore, I spend time thinking about these things.


When I worked at an African-American University I was called “white, white”. I often wondered what this meant and if any of the above meanings might fit.



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