Historic Jamestowne is jointly administered by the National Park Service and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation on behalf of Preservation Virginia and preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
America’s Historic Triangle
The corners of Virginia’s Historic Triangle mark major events in the story of colonial America. Linked by the scenic 23-mile Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown were important stops on our nation’s journey from the first lasting English settlement to the final battle that secured liberty and independence for the citizens of the new nation.
In 1606, England’s King James I granted a charter to a group known as the Virginia Company, whose mission it was to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region of the New World. In 1607, three ships landed at Cape Henry, Virginia, and proceeded up the river to establish the first permanent English settlement in America. To honor the king who sent them, the explorers named the river the James, and the settlement Jamestown.
In 1699, the capital of Virginia colony moved to Williamsburg, a city that became the capital of Great Britain’s largest and richest colony. It was here that patriots such as Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington pursued lives of public service, and the idea of a free and independent country began.
The Declaration of Independence signed in 1776 eventually led to a revolution that ended with the Battle of Yorktown, where, in 1781, the Continental Army defeated British General Cornwallis and his Redcoats in the last great engagement of the war, ending King George III’s tyranny over the 13 original colonies and fulfilling the promise of July 4, 1776.
Today, in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, visitors walk along the path of freedom and linger in the footsteps of the ordinary men and women – black, white, and Native American; conquered, slave, and free – who created a new country. In Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, or Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area, the Yorktown Battlefield, and the Yorktown Victory Center, we revisit the birthplace of our nation.