Jamestown (Virginia), former village of Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America. It is located in present-day James City County, on an island in the James River, southeast of Richmond, part of the 3816-hectare (9430-acre) Colonial National Historical Park. Jamestown was founded on May 14, 1607, by a small group led by Captain Christopher Newport, who was hired by the London Company to transport colonists. Many settlers died from famine and disease in the winter of 1609-10. The survivors were encouraged to stay in Jamestown by the arrival of new settlers and supplies the following June. In 1612 tobacco growing was started. The colony prospered and became the capital of Virginia. In 1619 the first representative assembly in America was held here. In the same year, at Jamestown, the first Africans were imported into the original 13 English colonies. The village was often attacked by Native Americans. In 1622, 350 colonists were killed; 500 in 1644. Colonists rebelling against the rule of Governor William Berkeley burned Jamestown in 1676 (see Bacon's Rebellion). The seat of government was moved to the Middle Plantation (now Williamsburg) in 1699, and Jamestown was deserted. The National Park Service and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (which owns 9 hectares/23 acres of the island), have excavated and restored the area. The Jamestown Archaeological Laboratory contains relics unearthed by National Park Service excavations. Jamestown Festival Park, adjacent to the national park, has full-scale replicas of early ships and a re-creation of James Fort (1607). Pavilions depict Native American and English cultures. This is why Jamestown now is a national monument in virginai and is a highly visited tourist attraction.
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