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400 Years in the New World
Traveling through modern America, the past is often hidden, masked by strip malls and skyscrapers and suburban sprawl. Our historic roots aren’t as readily apparent as the castles and great stone edifices of our European ancestors. Of more humble origins, our preserved past is often in the form of sod houses, remnants of forts or an imprint of a wagon wheel rut. So many of our early structures were lost to the destructive forces of man and nature. However, restoration and reconstruction projects are continuously going on in cities across the nation to preserve our past for future generations. One of these cities, Jamestown, is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. The cities showcased here, along with Jamestown, are among the earliest established American settlements. All had a major impact in the colonizations of their states.
Historic Triangle, Virginia
The Historic Triangle is formed by Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown, three cities that were instrumental in our nation’s development, freedom and democracy. This year marks the anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in Jamestown. On May 14, 1607, the ships sent by the Virginia Company of London, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, landed at Jamestown Island with 104 men. Decimated by disease, famine and Indian attacks, less than half of them survived the first year. However, with more settlers arriving every year and the establishment of their first cash crop, the tiny settlement began to flourish. More settlements followed and it was in Williamsburg that the seeds of revolution were sown by the intellectual and independent thinkers who flocked to the city. The port city of Yorktown forms the third point of the Historic Triangle, famous for its decisive battle and end to the Revolutionary War.
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown there are numerous festivities planned. America’s Anniversary Weekend occurs May 11-13, 2007 with interactive exhibits, dedications, live music and celebrity appearances. The spirit and resolve of our early pioneers will continue to be celebrated throughout the year with signature events, festivals and community programs. Key attractions not to be missed include:
Historic Jamestown. This area is still being discovered through archaeological digs. The newly opened Archaearium showcases these discoveries for the first time, allowing visitors to see the items used in daily life by our first settlers. Visitors can also witness the 1607 James Fort excavation, tour the original 17th-century church tower and watch costumed glassblowers at the Glasshouse.
Jamestown Settlement. View our nation’s beginnings through film, gallery exhibits and living history. Visitors can board replicas of the three ships that landed in Jamestown in 1607, view re-creations of the colonists’ fort and explore a Powhatan village. Costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century. The World of 1607 is a...
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