Jamestown (cities, United States)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Jamestown (cities, United States)

Jamestown:1 City (1990 pop. 34,681), Chautauqua co., W N.Y., on Chautauqua Lake; founded c.1806, inc. as a city 1886. It is the business and financial center of a dairy, livestock, and vineyard area. The chief industries are food processing and furniture and machine manufacture. Nearby are Allegany State Park and the Chautauqua Institution, a cultural and recreational center on the lake. Lucille Ball was born in the city.

2 City (1990 pop. 15,571), seat of Stutsman co., SE N.Dak., on the James River, in a farm area; founded 1871 when Fort Seward was established to protect railroad workers, inc. 1896. It is the trade and processing center for an agricultural area where grain and flour are produced and sunflowers and livestock are raised. Processed food, ordnance, and construction materials are manufactured. Jamestown College is in the city. Fort Seward Historic Site and a restored frontier village lie on the outskirts.

3 Former village, SE Va., first permanent English settlement in America; est. May 14, 1607, by the London Company on a marshy peninsula (now an island) in the James River and named for the reigning English monarch, James I. Disease, starvation, and Native American attacks wiped out most of the colony, but the London Company continually sent more men and supplies, and John Smith briefly provided efficient leadership (he returned to England in 1609 for treatment of an injury). After the severe winter of 1609–10 (the "starving time" ), the survivors prepared to return to England but were stopped by the timely arrival of Lord De la Warr with supplies. John Rolfe cultivated the first tobacco there in 1612, introducing a successful source of livelihood; in 1614 he assured peace with the local Native Americans by marrying Pocahontas, daughter of chief Powhatan. In 1619 the first representative government in the New World met at Jamestown, which remained the capital of Virginia throughout the 17th cent. The village was almost entirely destroyed during Bacon's Rebellion; it was partially rebuilt but fell into decay with the removal of the capital to Williamsburg (1698–1700).

Of the 17th-century settlement, only the old church tower (built c.1639) and a few gravestones were visible when National Park Service excavations began in 1934. Today, most of Jamestown Island is owned by the U.S. government and is included in Colonial National Historical Park (see National Parks and Monuments, table); a small portion comprises the Jamestown National Historic Site, which is owned by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. A tercentenary celebration was held in 1907, and in 1957 the Jamestown Festival Park was built to commemorate the 350th anniversary. The park, which was renamed Jamestown Settlement in 1990, contains exhibit pavilions and replicas of the first fort, the three ships that brought the first settlers, and a Native American village. Excavations that began in 1994 finally uncovered the original fort at Jamestown, which had long been believed to have been eroded away by the river.

See report by the Celebration Commission, The 350th Anniversary of Jamestown, 1607–1957 (1958); C. Bridenbaugh, Jamestown, 1544–1699 (1980); D. A. Price, Love and Hate in Jamestown (2003).

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