Jamestown Fights Its Sec­ond-Rate Im­age

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro - By Fredrick Kun­kle

Four cen­turies later, Jamestown is still look­ing for a lit­tle re­spect.

True, breath­tak­ing re­pro­duc­tions of the tall-masted ships will set sail to mark its 400th birth­day, and Vir­ginia is host­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar bash next month with pageantry, celebri­ties and fire­works to honor the first per­ma­nent English colony in the New World.

Even Queen El­iz­a­beth II is com­ing to the Old Do­min­ion to ac­knowl­edge her coun­try­men’s role in giv­ing birth to a pros­per­ous new na­tion.

In the Amer­i­can psy­che, how­ever, Ply­mouth Rock is where it all be­gan.

De­spite ef­forts to as­sert it­self as the home of U.S. democ­racy and free en­ter­prise, Jamestown has lagged in stature and recog­ni­tion, be­com­ing the Rod­ney Danger­field of early colo­nial set­tle­ments.

“Jamestown has been forgotten,” said James Horn, vice pres­i­dent of re­search for the Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg Foun­da­tion and au­thor of “A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of Amer­ica.”

The only per­ma­nent Euro­pean colony whose con­tri­bu­tions could be said to have been even more ob­scured is truly the old­est

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