Finding The Real Jamestown

The archaeologist who discovered the real Jamestown debunks myths and answers long-puzzling mysteries about North America's first successful English colony

Forget much of what you know about the Jamestown colony. For the past 200 years, many archaeologists and historians believed that the James River had largely eroded any traces of the original settlement over the intervening four centuries. Our excavations, ongoing since 1994, have proved otherwise...Read more »

General Lee’s Unsolved Problem

A southern writer analyzes the handicaps unwittingly laid on the general by President Davis

Long after the Civil War was over, with contemplative years for perspective, Jefferson Davis wrote that Robert E. Lee always commanded subject to his orders. The former Confederate president made quite a point of this overlordship, and held to the concept of Davis, the leader, manipulating armies and generals and the destinies of a people. Of course, Davis was right. As he made of the Confederate experiment a one-man show, technically he was Lee’s boss.Read more »

Madison’s Radical Agenda

A diminutive, persuasive Virginian hijacked the Constitutional Convention and forced the moderates to accept a national government with vastly expanded powers

On May 5, 1787, James Madison arrived in Philadelphia. He was a diminutive young Virginian—about five feet three inches tall, 130 pounds, 36 years old—who, it so happened, had thought more deeply about the political problems posed by the current government under the Articles of Confederation than any other American. Read more »

George Washington In Love

The Vivacious Sally Fairfax stole the young man’s heart long before he met Martha

ON MARCH 30, 1877, the New York Herald, one of the largest newspapers in America, printed a passionate love letter that had been written on September 12, 1758. Surely not hot news, you might ask? The Herald ’s editors knew what they were doing. Nothing they printed that day created a greater sensation. Read more »

George Washington, Founding CEO

Sharp business skills ensured the first president’s phenomenal success

America’s greatest leader was its first—George Washington. He ran two start-ups, the army and the presidency, and chaired the most important committee meeting in U.S. history, the Constitutional Convention. His agribusiness and real estate portfolio made him America’s richest man. He was as well known as any actress, rapper, or athlete. Men followed him into battle; women longed to dance with him; famous men, almost as great as he was, some of them smarter or better spoken, did what he told them to do. He was the Founding CEO.Read more »

Why Jamestown Matters

If the colony had collapsed the English might not have been established as the major colonial power in North America

If Jamestown, England’s first permanent colony in the New World, had failed 400 years ago—and it came within a whisker of being abandoned on any number of occasions—then North America as we know it today would probably not exist. Instead of English, we might be speaking French, Spanish, or even Dutch. If Jamestown collapsed, the emergence of British America and eventually the creation of the United States may never have happened. Read more »

Robert E. Lee’s “Severest Struggle”

New research shows that Lee's momentous decision to fight for the South was far from inevitable

One April afternoon in 1861, a proud man in his early fifties strode nervously across the portico of his home, too distracted to appreciate its sweeping view of the Potomac. He had an elegant military bearing and dark looks of a stage star, but on this day his genial face was shadowed by worry. His unsettled demeanor surprised several onlookers, accustomed to his normally composed nature.Read more »

To Plan A Trip

 

The Jamestown-Yorktown foundation is planning a series of what it terms Signature Events, ranging from an African-American Conference in February 2007 to a World Forum on the Future of Democracy the following September, with participants from around the world. And, of course, many of the sites and exhibits are meant to be permanent (at least until the 500th anniversary). For more information, go to www.americas400thanniversary.com . Read more »

Four Centuries

How Jamestown Got Us Started

We’re not used to measuring history in great swaths of time in this country, where a hundred-year-old house is considered an ancient survivor. So it was with a sense of going back in time twice over that I read about Virginia’s Grand National Jubilee of 1807.Read more »

Hampton Roads

It is a place of noble harbors, a convergence of strong rivers and a promontory commanding a wind-raked bay; a shoreline enfolding towns older than the Republic and the most modern and formidable naval base on earth; a spot where a four-hour standoff between two very peculiar ships changed the course of warfare forever—and the breeding ground of crabs that people travel across the country to eat. Fred Schultz explains why the fifth annual American Heritage Great American Place Award goes to

Twice wholly destroyed and twice rebuilt, Norfolk is again redefined and in the midst of an ambitious rehabilitation. Read more »