2007 witnessed the 400th anniversary of the first permanent settlement in America. The weekend that we went was packed with people and exhibits and special events to teach and celebrate the founding of Jamestown. We chose the correct day to go, for the following day the site shut down for four hours while the President visited.
The governors of the Virgina colony needed to bring all the status symbols of their office with them aboard ship when they crossed the Atlantic. The governor’s house in Jamestown has some fine examples of English furniture, and is the largest house in Jamestown.
Life In An Outpost
Life on the frontier in 1607 was rough. Hunting game, clearing land and farming, building houses, and fighting the natives was tough work. The men of Jamestown cheered the arrival of the first women colonists because now they could have clean shirts.
The early settlers relied on the supplies they brought with them aboard ship. The native Powatan tribes also contributed to the survival of the colony, trading food and knowledge with the settlers. While we visited, there several reenactments taking place, including a large Indian village and the arrival of the replica sailing ship Godspeed.
Even for short people, below deck on a sailing ship can be close. More than 100 colonists made the journey to Jamestown on the Godspeed. They spent most of their time in cots and beds since they were not trained sailors. But just in case, they could also fire the cannons. The captain had his own room but it is not much bigger than a closet.
The men of Jamestown brought armor, rifles and swords with them. It was a motley assortment. The hot and humid summers at Jamestown made the armor uncomfortable to wear. This day everyone with armor marched out to greet the arrival of the Godspeed as she came into dock.
The original site of the first fort was recently discovered and excavations are ongoing.