If Winners Write History, New York Trumps Jamestown
Hungry for gold, committed to converting savages and seeking a shortcut to the Orient, on May 14, 1607, settlers landed on a marshy peninsula they christened Jamestown.
According to an official account, they came ashore "never to leave." Except for one thing. By the end of the 17th century, after creating a legacy that included slavery and profiteering from tobacco, the Jamestown settlement had all but vanished. Jamestown, Va.'s permanent population today? Two — an archaeologist and his wife.
Jamestown has been billed as the nation's birthplace, the first permanent English colony, and has already begun an extended celebration of the site of America's 400th anniversary.
While plenty of other locations stake a claim, some New Yorkers maintain that if any place deserves to be known as the nation's birthplace, it is New York, population 8.2 million. And a real birthday is almost here.
Perhaps it slipped your mind, but 2009 is the 400th anniversary of the voyage of Hudson up the river that would within a few years bear his name. It's also 400 years since Champlain sailed down his lake upstate. The 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton's inaugural steamboat voyage up the Hudson in 1807 is also being marked in 2009.
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