What To See When Visiting Jamestown: National Historic Site

Interested in learning about the history of some of the earliest European settlers in North America, our friends the ancient planters? The first place you will want to go is the Jamestown National Historic Site in Virginia, which is itself a segment of the larger Colonial National Historic Park. These locations are important because of the events that occurred there — Jamestown is where the first permanent settlement was established. It wasn’t easy.

Jamestown is also an important reminder of early legislative successes and failures. This is where the first legislative body in North America was hosted. It is also where the first Africans set down. 

The Jamestown National Historic Site teaches visitors about historical events that occurred in Old Towne, where an English fort was built in 1607, and New Towne, where the city expanded later that same century, primarily after the 1620s. Each site has a corresponding visitor center where guests can ask the informed mentors questions about what they see or experience while there. The sites also convey what these locations were like before settlers first arrived.

Jamestown Island had been home to dozens of Powhatan tribes for thousands of years. Unlike the European settlers who came later, the Native Americans were able to sustain and live in harmony with the natural environment. When John Smith arrived in 1607, he thought it would make an adequate spot for long-term trading.

Smith was worried about the possibility of additional settlers from Spain, though. Not only that, there were conflicts with the Algonquin Natives nearly upon arrival. That’s why he decided to move slightly inland in order to construct the fort at Old Towne. Park visitors can explore a reconstructed fort for an idea of what it was like. Those early years of settlement and exploration were devastating, and many who arrived perished.

It wasn’t until the 1620s that a man named William Claiborne decided that it would be sensible to expand. He developed the land that would be named New Towne. This became the official port of entry, and began to grow.

Park visitors will find much of the 17th century settlement available for viewing. Archaeologists have found a number of interesting artifacts that American history lovers might like to see, including: “A clay oven, a gun shop, a jail, and warehouses, which give insight into the colonists’ experience on the island. A gunsmith suggests the importance of gun ownership to colonists who used firearms for protection, while warehouses are evidence of expanding trade and the need for more storage space for increasing imports.”

There is a lot to see and do, so make your vacation plans today!

How Dangerous Was The Threat Of Fire In The New World?

Settlers hoping to colonize the New World had a long road ahead of them — from beginning to end, it was a difficult life. Many would not make it through the first years of the Jamestown settlement. Most of us already envision the obstacles to obtaining food or building shelter, especially during the long winter months. But how many of us think about the issues that were relevant only to the time period? 

Residents of 1607 Jamestown had to use the resources that were available, and that meant everything was built from trees they cut down themselves. It also meant that the threat of fire was a constant reality.

Fire was a bigger deal in 1607 than it is today, because there were no fire hydrants that could be tapped to extinguish a blaze. In fact, no one was trained with how to deal with such a threat in the first place. In 1607 the best you had was a group of your fellow residents helping you put out the fire one bucket of water at a time. Because this was the best they could do, most fires completely demolished the buildings where they began.

This was a particularly big problem when the building in question was the fort that helped keep everyone safe.

In 1608 the fort at Jamestown was almost completely lost due to fire. Worse than that, it was winter when the blaze broke out. This left them almost completely defenseless. Thankfully, Native Americans in the area supplied them with food and clothing to help them through the winter — but only in exchange for some of their friends and family members who had been captured by the Jamestown colonists, who they had previously raided. The Native Americans were interested in the new weapons.

The fort would have to be rebuilt or salvaged quickly, because relations with these Native Americans would become more tense over the next few years — especially during the “Starving Time” from 1609 into 1610. It seemed almost every winter brought a new catastrophe, which makes it a wonder that any of the colonists managed to survive long enough to strengthen the community as much as they did.

During the same time period, the Native American chief, Powhatan, moved their capital further inland to better avoid contact. Perhaps this was one of the first examples of European settlers pushing Native Americans from their home territory, even though realistically the Native Americans could have wiped out the colonists if they wanted.

What Type Of Legal Authority Ruled Over Jamestown To Enforce The Law?

Jamestown in 1607 would seem an entirely foreign place if a person from the year 2019 were to visit the newly established colony. This is not only because the residents’ way of life were so different, but because the rule of law was much more strict. It was assumed there was no other choice for it but to be strict: the people who lived there believed that only harsh laws would help maintain the level of order they would require to survive.

Sir Thomas West was the first governor of Jamestown. Sir Thomas Gates was his lieutenant governor, and the job of writing these strict laws was his. He did this in 1610, but Sir Thomas West eventually rewrote them to better reflect his rule. They were later known as the “Laws Divine, Moral and Martial.” 

These newly codified laws were far more than speed limits or moral obligations for the residents who lived there: they also detailed exactly what their jobs were and how they would be fulfilled. For example, those who were assigned an officer were expected to attend church service at least twice a day.

Let’s see how you feel about this one: Anyone who was caught in the midst of blasphemy or heresy, or talking back to a preacher, would be subject to harsh punishment. Church was a part of your life whether you liked it or not — because the law made it so. 

One might ask what kind of laws carried the death penalty. The answer might surprise you. Simply fraternizing with Native Americans might result in hanging. Capital punishment was common, too. Perhaps this was because people were starving in the early days of the settlement, when stealing food or slaughtering a chicken was punishable by death.

The laws were transformed again by authorities from afar in 1618, when the residents of Virginia were set to follow the Great Charter. This document was established to increase investment and immigration to the New World. As a result, Governor-elect Sir George Beardsley had two councils created: a Council of State, and the General Assembly.

These new councils actually reduced the power of the governor because decisions were made only after a vote was cast. The majority ruled. 

Thankfully laws have become much more “just” over time! If you live in the Houston area, then you’ll need to search for a criminal defense law firm to handle your case.

What Were The Religious Practices Of The Ancient Planters?

Although traditional historical understanding of early American settlers is pretty clear that they crossed the sea to escape persecution back home, their beliefs were fairly traditional and had been well established by the Anglican Church (or Church of England) for a long time. It shouldn’t be very surprising; after all, the first settlers would have wanted to seek comfort in familiarity, especially during the cold, harsh winters the New World had to offer.

What might be a bit more surprising are the agnostic bits of Virginia culture. Many residents of Jamestown and other early settlements in Virginia, men especially, were none too happy about the amount of authority that the church held over the direction of society. In order to counteract this centralized power, the settlers were more likely to integrate into vestries and courts to transfer power in another direction.

Church attendance in Jamestown resulted from the need for socialization, and not from a devout belief in God or obligation. The residents may have had a strong faith to lean on during the hard times, but it was a private belief shared with close family members more than anyone else. 

That said, the aristocracy and those on lower social rungs seemed to integrate with a dulled acceptance when enjoying church activities. The ruling elite did, however, establish its own control over matters of religion (perhaps that’s why so many residents kept faith within the family). There was no bishop when the settlement was established, which is why control fell to them.

There were members of other religions living side by side with Jamestown residents, but they were legally restricted in how they could practice. Many members of Protestant sects lived there, and for the most part they were tolerated if not accepted.

The same could not be said of Native American rituals and beliefs. When slaves were eventually brought over from Africa, residents of Jamestown failed to recognize or accept them either. Although attempts were made to assimilate the outsiders into the Anglican Church, they were half-hearted at best and most always resulted in failure. 

The church was protected by law. Conformity was key to living the high life; one could not hold office if one were not Anglican. Laws also determined how much ministers were paid and how new parishes were constructed. Separation of church and state was certainly not a core tenet of Virginia law or Anglican faith.

Finding Movies About Jamestown, Virginia

Jamestown, Virginia has a long and fascinating history behind it. This was the first permanent English settlement in the United States. This settlement was at the center of a number of significant historical events. Because of this, the settlement has been featured in all kinds of films.

Fictional Tales

Historical fiction is a rich genre. There are many fictional movies that use Jamestown as a backdrop. For example, the famous love story To Have and To Hold is set in Jamestown.

In addition to old classics, there are a number of newer movies that take place in Jamestown. The movie The New World, which was released in 2005, was set in Jamestown. There are all kinds of intriguing stories that feature Jamestown in some way.

If you’re in the mood for a good story, and you don’t know what to watch, you should start looking for movies about Jamestown. You’ll find a lot of appealing options.

Children’s Films

If you’re looking for a movie that you can watch with young children, you should definitely consider movies that include the Jamestown settlement. One of the most famous children’s movies that involves Jamestown is Disney’s Pocahontas. There are also other versions of the Pocahontas story that are child-friendly.

You don’t have to wait until after your children have gone to bed to watch a movie about Jamestown. If you want to watch a movie like this, all you have to do is seek out family-friendly films. There are a lot of great movies that you can check out.

Non-Fiction Films

Because Jamestown is an important historical site, there are a number of documentaries about this town. If you’re looking for an educational film to watch, you’ll find no shortage of options.

There are documentaries that focus on different times in Jamestown histories. You’ll be able to find movies that focus on the initial settling of Jamestown, and you’ll be able to find films that show what happened to Jamestown when it was temporarily abandoned.

If there’s something you want to learn about Jamestown, you don’t necessarily have to read a book. There are plenty of educational and interesting documentaries that you can watch.

If you’re looking for movies about Jamestown, Virginia, you’ll find all kinds of films to watch. Start looking for movies that are relevant to you. You should be able to find all kinds of movies that are in line with your tastes and interests.

A Brief History About The Sea Venture

When you think about the settling of the New World you often think about Christopher Columbus, the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria and a criminal defense lawyer. But after Columbus discovered the New World, more and more settlers from Europe came over and began their new life in the New World.

But it wasn’t always easy comings and goings for those looking to start anew. Especially when you think of the people who journeyed on the Sea Venture. which is one of those ships that you may have never heard of before, but it actually has a cool and interesting history.

This ship was the flagship for the London Company and it was specifically utilized for the emigration of the people who would later become known as Ancient Planters. This ship made the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean twice and on its third voyage, the ship was filled with supplies for the Jamestown colony.

During this third trek back to the New World in the year of 1609, The Sea Venture became lost at sea off the coast of Bermuda. Their voyage was during what we would consider Hurricane conditions.  The winds directed to the boat to the eastern shore of Bermuda. Luckily, the crew of 150 people and a dog was able to get off of the boat, none of the harmed.

When the people did get off of the boat they were not really sure how long they would be stranded, but it would take a total of nine months before they would be rescued. As for the ship herself, she would be stripped of all of her useful items by the settlers that were living in the New World, because the survivors of the shipwreck needed them to survive the conditions of Bermuda.

Using natural resources of Bermuda and what was salvageable from the ship, many of the survivors built a new boat. They took whatever supplies and people that they could and set sail for Virginia. From there, they sent word to England to send another relief shit to Bermuda to get the rest of the survivors.

Learning about a ship like the Sea Venture is one that is often overlooked by a lot of people. However, The Tempest by William Shakespeare is reported this story was based on the Sea Venture and several other authors have tackled this story in works of historical fiction.

Who Were the Indentured Servants?

Jamestown, the first colony of the Virginia Company, had only been founded for ten years when the first Indentured Servants began to make an appearance in the Americas.

The idea and probably the practice of indentured servitude sprang from the dire need for cheap laborers to work the land in colonial Americas. The early settlers were quickly met with the need for manpower to work the sprawling acreage available to them.

Passage to the Americas in itself was a considerable cost for anyone but the very rich. The very rich were in the Americas to acquire land and accumulate wealth not do the actual work themselves. They needed a way to attract a considerable workforce to power their enterprise and this was made available with the indentured servant.

The concept was popularized by the dire circumstances for the populations of Europe who were recovering from the destructive Thirty Years War that depleted the major economies. There was also a considerable unemployment problem at the time and Europe was crowded with skilled and unskilled laborers of all types.

It is understandable that the concept of life far away from the dreary depression of Europe was both exciting and inviting. The accommodations and arrangements available to these original “migrant workers” were tough but fair and indentured servitude was a far cry from the harsh realities of slavery.

An indentured servant would work for of a period as long as seven years or as short as four. During this time they would apply their skills or manpower to the service of their employer who would provide a home, food and all other necessary provisions until their contract had expired. The deal was restrictive and an indentured servant could extend their time of service as punishments for running away or becoming pregnant, in the case of female servants.

Those that managed to survive and gain their freedom had a considerably good position in the growing American colonies at the time. Many historians say that the indentured servant had a better opportunity for success than those colonists who came over of their own volition. While some did make it to the elite class in the Americas, it was a modest life in the opportunity rich colonies that attracted many indentured servants from Europe.

In 1619, the first black slaves arrived in the American colonies. At the time, there were no slave labor laws and they were given the same liberties as white indentured servants. By, 1641, all slavery laws had been established and the few rights that applied to blacks were stricken from the law.

Bacon’s Rebellion – An Intriguing Part of Jamestown’s History

A part of North American history is known as Bacon’s Rebellion, and indeed it is one of the most intriguing parts of Jamestown’s immigration history. This was a power struggle between two individuals who were no less than stubborn and selfish.

The two main individuals who played a part in Bacon’s Rebellion were the governor of Jamestown, Sir William Berkeley, and his cousin through marriage, Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. Governor Berkeley was an English Civil Wars veteran, a fighter of Native Americans, and during his first term as Governor, the King’s favorite. He had also made a name for himself as a playwright and a scholar. His name was deeply respected, as was his name as Governor of Virginia.

Bacon was a total opposite of Berkeley in character. He was intelligent, to be sure, but he was also a troublemaker and schemer. In fact, his father had sent him to Virginia in the hopes that he would mature. When he arrived, his cousin Berkeley treated him with respect and extended him friendship, giving him land and even allowing him a seat on the council.

Over time, however, Virginians, including Bacon, began to feel frustrated. There were economic difficulties, issues caused by weather, and other problems that led the colonists to feel the need to place blame on someone for the misfortunes they were suffering. This scapegoat took form in the local Native Americans.

Issues between the Native Americans and the colonists did not make anything any easier for all parties involved. The colonists began to demand much of Berkeley regarding their safety, and feeling that their demands were being ignored, an uprising began.

Over one thousand Virginians rose up to bring the confrontation to their governor, and they were led by none other than Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. They attacked Native Americans and chased Governor Berkeley from Jamestown before they ultimately set fire to the capital. Before aid could arrive sent from England, Bacon perished from dysentery. After his death, Bacon’s Rebellion soon lost steam.

The governor, then aged 71 years, returned to power and put to death the remaining leaders of the rebellion. He also moved to seize rebel property without the benefit of trial. A later investigation completed by a committee sent from England resulted in Berkeley being removed as governor and returned to England, where he died in 1677.

Bacon’s Rebellion was a power struggle between two individuals with two larger than life personalities. Between the two of them, they nearly destroyed Jamestown.

Taking a Look at the Indian Massacre of 1622

The Jamestown settlement was the first permanent English colony and it was established in 1607. Although it was briefly abandoned in 1610, it was still considered to be a permanent settlement. Initially, the native Indians welcomed the colonists and offered support in numerous ways. It didn’t take long, however, before relations began to sour and within three years, the Paspahegh were wiped out in warfare. Jamestown also saw some severe problems during that time, including an 80% mortality rate in 1609-1610.

By the time 1618 came around, Sir Edwin Sandys was busy trying to integrate the Indians into the English settlements and great attempts were made to both civilize and Christianize the native population. It was thought that the Powhatan nation and Openchancanough, the tribal chief, also agreed with what was taking place, but there was still a lot of mistrust and contempt on the part of the English settlers toward the Indians. Eventually, it came to a head and resulted in what is known as the Indian massacre of 1622.

The English considered the Indians to be subservient, probably because they did not seem to retaliate to the verbal abuse and occupation of their land. The Indians, however, felt threatened by the English and were not happy with the fact that they were trying to re-educate their population. Openchancanough decided to respond to what was taking place by mounting an attack on the settlement of Jamestown. In their eyes, it was a way to get rid of the English for good.

Openchancanough was originally interested in attacking more than just the Jamestown settlement. An attack on the Jamestown fort was also planned and outlying settlements were included. There was an Indian youth, however, who had been Christianized and warned of the coming attack. The English who were living in the settlements did not find out early enough.

The Indians brought gifts to the English on the day before the attack and were mingling with the population of settlers. Suddenly, and without warning, they grabbed their work tools and began to attack the settlers, killing 347 men, women and children in the process. Many of the outlying plantations were also burned as the settlers ran to the Jamestown fort and other strongholds for protection. It was a sad day in the history of Virginia, and one that is still remembered down till today.

A Brief History of Colonial Jamestown, Virginia

Colonial Jamestown – the very first English settlement in what was to become the United States of America. Jamestown was established in the Colony of Virginia, one of the thirteen colonies that are represented by the thirteen stripes present on the flag of the United States. Jamestown became a permanent settlement in the year 1610, after a brief abandonment. And from 1616 to the year of 1699 Jamestown served as Virginia’s capital.

The history of Jamestown can be traced back to the year of 1606. At this time, entrepreneurs from England, representing the London Company, set sail to the New World with the mission of establishing a colony there. This fleet consisted of three ships under the leadership of one Captain Christopher Newport, and in May of 1607, the 104 men and boys who successfully made it to the location chose it for their settlement. They called this new settlement “Jamestown”, named after the English king, James I. A few short months later, the fort was completed and Captain Newport set sail back to England for more supplies.

Shortly after Captain Newport’s departure, the settlers of Jamestown began to succumb to disease. One reason for the deaths of many was the drinking water, which was less than suitable for ingestion. Food was also becoming hard to come by. Fortunately, the Native Americans who had settled in the area long before the English newcomers brought gifts of food. Indeed, had this aid not come to the settlers when it did the settlement would have most likely failed.

By 1610, those who had survived what was known as the “Starving Time” and new settlers arriving at the area permanently established Jamestown as a settlement. And soon, it was not just a settlement but a venture that had become profitable. Tobacco became the cash crop that the English settlers had long awaited. Finally, the investment made was paying off.

Throughout these early years, peace between the Native Americans and the settlers of Jamestown soured. Many attacks ensued, and when the Native Americans hoped their attacks would lead the settlers away, they were often met with deadly retaliation. Eventually, treaties were signed by the Native Americans which made them subjects of the English.

in 1698, fire struck Jamestown, destroying several buildings, including the prison. While some records were saved, the capital was moved and Jamestown ceased to be a town. Today, it is a historic site that has been preserved due to its importance in American history as the first permanent settlement in the country.