Eastern Home & Travel May/June 2017 - Page 16

The colony was sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, a group of investors who hoped to profit from the venture. Chartered in 1606 by King James I, the company also supported English national goals of counterbalancing the expansion of other European nations abroad, seeking a northwest passage to the Orient, and converting the Virginia Indians to the Anglican religion. H I S TO R Y C O M E S A L I V E In 1957 Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th- century Virginia history and culture, opened as the setting for the 350th anniversary of the founding in Virginia of America’s first permanent English 16 EASTERN HOME & TRAVEL colony. Fast forward to 2007 when the museum developed new facilities, exhibits and programs in time for the 400th anniversary of this seminal event in American history. Expansive exhibition galleries, an introductory film and revitalized living-history areas present the story of 17th- century Virginia and its Powhatan Indian, English and west central African cultural origins, drawing on a wealth of historical information revealed by late 20th- and early 21st-century archaeological and documentary research. Just 20 miles away from where Jamestown was established in 1607, the outcome of the American Revolution was determined at the 1781 Siege of Yorktown. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is successor to the Yorktown Victory Center, originally founded in 1976 in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence. The museum holds a “Liberty Celebration” event every July and participates in an annual townwide celebration of the momentous American victory at Yorktown in October. YO The founding of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English colony, in Virginia in 1607— 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in Massachusetts—sparked a series of cultural encounters that helped shape the nation and the world. The government, language, customs, beliefs and aspirations of these early Virginians are all part of the United States’ heritage today.