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Jamestown, Virginia

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Statue of Captain John Smith at James Town Island

Historic Jamestowne is the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. It was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 on the James River. It was briefly abandoned in 1610 with other settlements such as the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jamestown served as the capital of the colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.

At first, the local native peoples welcomed and helped the British colonists. Relations with the natives deteriorated however. These people were annihilated in warfare within three years. Deaths of the colonists occurred in Jamestown due to starvation and disease. Over 80% of the colonists died in 1609-1610 in what became known as the "Starving Time". In the modern age, only archaeological ruins remain.

In 2006, many preparations were underway for the Jamestown 2007 event celebrating the 400th anniversary of the settlement. Queen Elizabeth II visited Historic Jamestowne on May 4, 2007 — she had previously visited the park in October 1957. As noted by Queen Elizabeth during her state visit to the U.S. in 2007, Jamestowne was the beginning, not just of America, but of the British Empire.


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