Sunday, October 17, 2010

Exploring SE Virginia: Jamestown

"It began at Jamestown in 1607. It ended and began anew at Yorktown in 1781. One hundred and seventy-four years of hope, adventure, discovery, settlement, struggle, suffering, war, growth and development that saw the country expand from a lonely English settlement of 104 men & boys on the James River into 13 colonies. It ended for Great Britain in a port town on the York River, where independence for the new United States became a reality."

Pretty cool, huh? It was pretty amazing to step back in time to the first settlement in the United States, the first capitol, the first church building, to see where the most important battle took place for our independence...

Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself! Dan & I had already visited Williamsburg (one of 3 places in what is called Virginia's Historic Triangle) last year, so this trip was to see the rest of the historic triangle; Jamestown & Yorktown.

 We first visited Jamestown which is divided up into 2 sites. This  first site  is called the "Historic Jamestown".

There they had the 1607 James fort excavation going on;

 the original 17th century church tower & 1907 Jamestown Memorial Church;

remains of the original settlement and the Archaearium ,which houses the artifacts they have uncovered inside the fort confines which was absolutely fascinating!

There were also a couple of statues: One of Captain John Smith & one of Pocohontas. Disney actually got the story wrong; Pocohantas did not marry Capt. Smith, she married John Rolfe, and English settler who was instrumental in the cultivation of their main crop: tobacco.

So it is here that our nation began. The colonists had to endure disease & starvation, they battled indians, they figured out what the land would grow, they started their own government. Jamestown was one of the first steps in the greatest migration in modern history. Over the next 300 years, tens of millions of European, African, & Asian peoples arrived on American shores to being their lives anew.

The Tercentenary Monument commmemorates Jamestown's 300th anniversary in 1907:

The 2nd site is called "Jamestown Settlement". It is more of a "Living Museum", with volunteers dressed up in period clothing to make it seem more authentic.

There is a re-created Powhatan Indian Village with huts made out of reeds;

We were able to board two of the re-created ships that sailed to Virginia in 1607 to establish America's first permanent English colony; ( to see how they lived on these ships for several months, packed in like sardines was an eye-opener!!) Just to jog your memory; the ships' names  were the Susan Constant, Godspeed & Discovery!

And then they had the re-created James Fort which represented the 1610-14 time period with thatched-roof houses, storehouses, church, and guard stations. 

 It was a wonderful day of discovery. Next up...Yorktown!

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