Jamestown, Virginia

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Jamestown, located on Jamestown Island in the Virginia Colony, was founded on May 14, 1607.[1] It is the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States of America, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. It was founded by the London Company (later to become the Virginia Company), headquartered in England. Within a year of Jamestown's foundation, the Virginia Company brought Polish and Dutch colonists to help improve the settlement.[2] Located in James City County when it was formed in 1634 as one of the original eight shires of Virginia, Jamestown was the capital of the Colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.[3] At that time, the capital was relocated to Middle Plantation, about 8 miles (13 km) distant.[4] (That small community, which had also become home to the new College of William and Mary in 1693, was renamed Williamsburg in 1699). The London Company's second settlement, Bermuda, claims the oldest town in the English New World, as St. George's, Bermuda was officially established (as New London) in 1612, where James Fort, in Virginia, is said not to have been converted into Jamestown until 1619. Jamestown ceased to exist as a settlement after the transfer of Virginia's capital to Williamsburg in 1699, existing, today, only as archaeological remains, whereas St. George's has continued in use throughout.[5]

Jamestown is one of three locations comprising the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia: Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg. Jamestown offers two areas to visit. Historic Jamestowne,[6] on Jamestown Island, is a cooperative effort by Jamestown National Historic Site, a part of Colonial National Historical Park, which is a unit of the National Park Service, and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. The other attraction is known as Jamestown Settlement, and located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) from the historic location of the colony. It is a Living History interpretive site operated by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia and was established for the sesquarcentennial—350th anniversary—celebrations of Jamestown in 1957.

Nearby, the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry[7] service provides a link across the navigable portion of the James River for vehicles and offers passengers a view of Jamestown Island from the river, which is perhaps not greatly different from what the first colonists saw 400 years earlier. Traveling 11 miles (18 km) East down the National Park Service's scenic Colonial Parkway visitors can tour Colonial Williamsburg operated by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, site of the second capitol of Virginia. Continuing another 13 miles (21 km) East down the Colonial Parkway brings visitors to Yorktown, with another two areas to visit. Yorktown Battlefield also a part of Colonial National Historical Park, is operated by the National Park Service and is the site of the actual Battle of Yorktown. Located approximately 1-mile (1.6 km) from the battlefield, the Yorktown Victory Center is another living history interpretive site operated by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation.

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