First white child
The birth of the first white child[clarification needed] was a celebrated occasion across many parts of the New World. Such births are a matter of pride for many townships, and they are commemorated with plaques and monuments at the location of the event. The birth was seen as such an honor that it was at times controversial as to who could claim the title. As European settlers spread throughout America and Australia, the birth of a white child symbolized the growth and increasing permanence of their expanding civilisations.
North and South America
The first white people native to North and South America were the children of settlers from Europe.
Snorri Thorfinnsson (likely born between 1005 and 1013) was the son of Thorfinnur Karlsefni and Gudrídur Eiríksdóttir. Generally known to his contemporaries as Snorri Gudrídsson, as his mother outlived his father, he was purported to be born in Vinland, possibly making him the first European to be born in North America.
Martín de Argüelles, Jr., born in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, Florida, was the first white child born in what is now the continental United States. Born in 1566, his father was a hidalgo and one of the expeditioners who went to New Spain with Captain General Pedro Menéndez in 1565. St. Augustine, Florida is also the oldest continuously occupied European-founded city anywhere in the United States excluding Puerto Rico.
Virginia Dare, born in 1587 at the Roanoke Colony, was the first child born in North America to English parents, and her memory was celebrated in the British colonies. Peregrine White, born aboard the Mayflower at Provincetown Harbor in 1620, was the first Pilgrim birth. Sarah Rapelje, born June 6, 1625, was the first white child born in New Netherland in what is now New York state. Born in 1659, Kristian Gaapstörm was the first child born in New Sweden. Helena Dill Berryman, born September 8, 1804 in what is now Nacogdoches County, was the first Anglo child born in what is now Texas (though clearly she was not the first child of European descent).
Hélène Desportes is often cited as the first white child born in New France in what would later be Canada. She was born in the early 17th century, but there is considerable disagreement about whether she was born in Quebec or before her family arrived on the continent.
In Australia There is some conjecture about the first European birth on Australian soil, but William Nash seems to be the prime candidate. His father, also William, was a Marine Private and his mother was Maria Haynes, who came as his common-law wife (they were not married until later). There are biographical entries on both parents in The Founders of Australia: A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet, by Mollie Gillen, published in 1989 (pp. 261–262). The book also lists those who were born on the voyage. William Nash was baptised on 25 May 1788 (his actual birth date is not known), and died on 19 June 1789. A search of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Historical Indexes will show that the Birth Registry number is "1A/1788", which indicates that his is the first entry in the register for 1788 (although not necessarily proving that his was the first birth). Digitised copies of his baptismal and death register entries can be purchased from the Registry. Governor Phillip's reports are published in The Historical Records of Australia Series 1 Volume 1, but there is no mention of the first birth in the colony; on 12 February 1790 he simply states the number of births (59) and deaths (72) that had occurred to date. Unless further records are discovered, we will probably now never know definitely who was the "first born", but William Nash is the most likely.
In New Zealand, the first white child was Thomas Holloway King, born in February 1815, at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands, a mission station founded by Samuel Marsden of the (Anglican) Church Missionary Society.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Cox, Mike. July 2003. "First Whites". Accessed August 7, 2007.
- ↑ Time. "First Native White". Accessed August 7, 2007.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Word, Ron. July 30, 2007. "St. Augustine celebrates 442nd birthday". Accessed August 7, 2007.
- ↑ Colonial Ancestors. "This Day in Colonial Times - June". Accessed August 9, 2007.
- ↑ Decoursey, William. "Bill Decoursey's notes on old Dutch families". Accessed August 9, 2007.
- ↑ Bennett, Ethel M. G. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. 2000. "Hélène Desportes". Accessed August 10, 2007.
NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Historical Indexes shows that William Nash has the Birth Registry number "1A/1788", which indicates that his is the first entry in the register for 1788, the year Australia was settled.
- Mollie, Gillen. 1989. A Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet. ISBN 0908120699