Jamestown 400th Anniversary

Jamestown_landingJamestown, Virginia celebrated it’s 400-year anniversary this past weekend with a three-day festival remembering the first English colony established in what became the United States of America. Bring Jamestown’s history into your classroom with National Geographic’s kids game–On the Trail of Captain John Smith: A Jamestown Adventure. Follow Captain John Smith as he meets the Native Americans who inhabit the area, explores the Chesapeake Bay, and helps to ensure the establishment of the colony. Also, try your hand at shooting a bow and arrow, sword-fishing, boat racing, and much more!

Play the Game >>

Discover National Geographic’s other Jamestown and Chesapeake Bay resources:

Lesson Plans
K-2: Getting to Know the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

3-5: The Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Past, Present, and Future
6-8: Health Indicators of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
9-12: The Chesapeake Bay: A Time for Change

Video
John Smith’s Voyage of Discovery

Online Interactives
National Geographic’s Exploring the Chesapeake: Then and Now
National Geographic magazine online interactive Jamestown and Werowocomoco maps

Articles
National Geographic magazine: "America, Found & Lost"
National Geographic magazine: "What Would You Take to the New World?"
National Geographic magazine: "Why Can’t We Save the Bay?"

Other Jamestown Resources

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2 responses to “Jamestown 400th Anniversary

  1. Of what long-term importance is Jamestown as a transformational event in our nation’s history? What legacies has it left us? Why is Jamestown relevant for us in 2007?
    By 1620, or within thirteen years of their landing, the Jamestowne settlers had cultivated some of our most important and enduring legacies that never seem to part of what we teach students of its history.
    While they generally are taught that Jamestowne was the site of the first elected representative legislature and self-rule, the free enterprise system became the form of our American economy; and, English was to be the established common language of the new American nation, we usually fail to include that it is where the settlers also created the common citizen’s right to ownership of private property (and its importance to us since and today); the principle of common law as the foundation of our legal system; civilian control of the military; and new freedoms from European traditions that had bound many generations to their ancestors’ trades, classes and economic conditions.
    Another legacy was that of the experiences, losses and mistakes learned in establishing Jamestown that then served to give all succeeding English and British colonization efforts, at Plymouth and then around the world, more realistic direction, instructions and expectations that had better results. John Smith was the most vocal and articulate advocate for them.
    However, the most important of their legacies was their determination to succeed – or the American “can do” spirit. With that determination, the descendants of those Jamestown pioneers also forged the unique element of our American culture: a persistent striving for the freedom to better ourselves with property, innovation and enterprise.
    This is the legacy that has become our American Dream. Its first seeds were planted at Jamestown 400 years ago and today all Americans enjoy its fruits. This is why Jamestown is meaningful for each and every one of us and why we should forever remember it as the seminal incident that introduced the opportunities for the economic and political innovations and enterprise that have made our nation what it is.

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