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In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia's James River. They were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but managed to endure, earning the distinction of being America's first permanent English colony.
Today at Jamestown Settlement, the story of the people who founded Jamestown and of the Virginia Indians they encountered is told through film, gallery exhibits and living history. Expansive gallery exhibits and an introductory film trace Jamestown's beginnings in England and the first century of the Virginia colony and describe the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, Europeans and Africans who converged in 1600s Virginia.
Outdoors, visitors can board replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, explore life-size re-creations of the colonists' fort and a Powhatan village. In the outdoor areas, costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in the early 17th century. Dine at the Jamestown Settlement Cafe when you visit.
This unique museum of 17th-century American history and culture is located adjacent to the entrance of the original site, Historic Jamestowne, administered by the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia.