Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Jamestown Plantation

Roughly 400 years ago, on December 20, 1606, three merchant ships loaded with passengers and cargo embarked from England on a voyage that would later set the course of American history. The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery reached Virginia in the spring of 1607, and on May 14, their 104 passengers all men and boys began building on the banks of the James River what was to be America's first permanent English colony, predating Plymouth in Massachusetts by 13 years. The ambitions of these pioneers and the hardships they faced are vividly depicted at Jamestown Settlement, a museum operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia, through living history, a film and gallery exhibits. You'll see full-scale replicas of the three 1607 ships and catch wind of the sense of the spirit of adventure that motivated the Jamestown colonists as well as the strenuous living conditions endured by 17th-century voyagers.You'll be introduced to the world of Pocahontas, the legendary Indian maiden who befriended the English colonists, in a re-created Powhatan Indian village. The English Gallery describes political, social and economic conditions that led to English colonization of the New World, and innovations in cartography, ship design and navigation that made possible long voyages to new destinations. The Powhatan Indian Gallery traces the movement of people into Virginia beginning more than 10,000 years ago, and the evolution of their technology over the centuries. Exhibits describe the evolution of social and government institutions throughout the 17th century. The first representative assembly met at Jamestown in 1619, and the town served as capital of Virginia until 1699 when the seat of government moved to Williamsburg.


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