Jamestown was the first permanent settlement in America. Named after King James, Jamestown almost did not survive. In 1607, three ships - the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Godspeed - landed along the James River with over 100 settlers.  It took over 4 months to travel across the ocean from England. After searching along the coast and river for several weeks, the men decided on a spot on the James River to create the first colony. Captain Chrstopher Newport, John Smith, John Ratcliffe and others helped create the colony. When the men arrived, sealed orders were opened which named the men who would govern the new colony. The first location was on a small island so watch out for the Spanish who might invade. Unfortunately many died from malaria, dysentery, or starvation during the first year.

Today when you go to the Jamestown settlement you can visit several different areas.  You can see the replicas of the three ships, a Powhatan village, the original site of the Jamestown settlement, and a reproduction of the fort where you can visit buildings the settlers would have lived and worked in during the 1600s.

The Powhatan Village
What you see are reproductions of buildings the Paspahegh Indians lived in based on archaeological digs.

Powhatan Village
homes where Powhatan natives lived

Inside the reed homes - tools they used

Roof made from saplings, reeds, and birchbark

An entire family unit would reside in here - see animals hanging on wall

materials used to make baskets

hollowing out a canoe

basket made from reeds and grasses

fossil discovered which shows imprint of basket

copper plate which shows the Powhatans traded with Indians further northwest
curing leather

tools used for fishing

knife made from bone

variety of tools used

shell used to clean hair from animal skins

Reed tool used to puncture holes in leather

The Ships 
The three ships - the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery are anchored at the Jamestown settlement. When you go visit you can climb on board the Susan Constant and see what it was like for the men to travel across the ocean. Today, the ships are taken out and sailed. The ships were loaded with supplies, sometimes 4 feet high in the holds. The men/settlers had to sleep on top of the supplies, leaving only a couple feet of room, usually just enough room for them to lift their heads.  Sometimes the men would recline on their pallets and play cards or other games of chance while the ships traveled across the ocean. Remember they had to travel like this for over 4 MONTHS!

The Discovery

The Godspeed

The path the ships took

The hold of the Susan Onstant
The Susan Constant

Captain's quarters on Susan Constant

Crewmate of Susan Constant in the hold

The Hold of the Susan Constant

The Jamestown Fort

The original Jamestown Fort was thought to be washed away. A replica of the fort was built not far away and included stores to hold their supplies, a church, and several buildings for the men to live in. Recently, evidence was found that the settlement had not been washed away at all.  The imprints for the wooden palisades were discovered and soon even more evidence was uncovered - the church, the well, and even graves.  Today, archaeologists are busy uncovering even more evidence of the first settlers.

John Smith statue overlooking James River - original church excavation behind him

Church and graveyard near original site

burial ground of settlers who died during starvation period

excavation site - covered to protect from rain

grave site of original settler

fence reconstructed as built by settlers

framework of a building at the fort

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