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Colonial National Historic Park encompasses both Jamestown and Yorktown, where the Revolution ended. Jamestown is the oldest British settlement on North American soil, established in 1607 by Captain John Smith.
Only the foundations of the 1639 church tower, the churchyard, and the outlines of a few other buildings remain of the original settlement, but you’ll find a re-creation of a Powhatan village based on contemporary drawings and archaeological finds, and replicas of the three ships that brought the settlers from England: Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery.
Jamestown Settlement was built in 1957 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Jamestown’s founding. A museum and exhibition galleries focus on England’s colonization in the New World, the history and culture of the Powhatans, and Jamestown’s first 100 years.
The statue of Pocahontas by William Ordway Partridge was erected in 1922 in memory of her role in smoothing relations between the Native Americans and the settlers. The statue of John Smith by William Couper was erected in 1909.
Triangular James Fort is a re-creation of the one constructed by the colonists, with thatch-roofed structures representing Jamestown’s earliest buildings. Although none of the original buildings are still standing, the foundations are still in place, and you can see them on a half-mile walk through New Towne, part of Colonial National Historical Park.
It was at Yorktown Battlefield that the English Army under Lord Cornwallis surrendered to the combined American and French Armies, paving the way for American Independence. The events on the battlefield are well documented and easy to understand from the interpretive displays and dioramas. Park Ranges also guide frequent tours, and you can see the early 18th-century Moore House where Cornwallis surrendered.
Nelson House, which has a cannonball lodged in the wall near the upper window, is well-restored and an excellent example of Georgian architecture. Grace Episcopal Church has been standing since 1697 despite the ravages of war during the sieges of Yorktown in 1781 and 1862 and despite the fire of 1814. Communion silver dating from 1649 is still in use.
Address: Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, Virginia
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Yorktown
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