Jamestown, Va., prepares to blow out 400 candles

One historian has called Jamestown, Va., "the rightful birthing ground of America." After all, it was the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America in 1607. This, therefore, is the 400th anniversary of Capt. John Smith's arrival on the James River with a company of profit-seeking colonists. They arrived 13 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. On two occasions they turned back Spanish efforts to enter the Chesapeake Bay, thus establishing a firm foothold for English speakers in the New World. Virginia plans the major Jamestown anniversary celebrations in May. Some facts about the colony:

Founded: 1607
First settlers: 105 men and boys
Arrived on: three ships (Godspeed, Susan Constant, and Discovery)
Leaders: Capt. John Smith, John Rolfe, and Capt. Christopher Newport
Key natives: Powhatan and Pochahontas
Legacy: Commerce and representational government

– Associated Press

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