Landscapes and Legacies

In 1607, early settlers produced the first permanent English settlement in America. Native Americans hunted and camped in the area of Jamestown Island when the English arrived. In 1619 the first Africans arrived. Now three peoples with dissimilar power and resources shared the same physical landscape. Virtual Jamestown is the story of their encounters, the legacies of these encounters, and how these legacies continue to shape America today.

Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans each had a different understanding of the other and each, having its own distinct culture, met in a land where one was a total stranger with the other two groups, another familiar with the others only through the writings of previous explorers, and the last brought as a captive. How these peoples understood themselves and were understood by the other two groups is part of the cultural landscape of their encounters.

The natural environment and participants' perceptions helped to shape the encounters between natives and newcomers to Tidewater Virginia. The Native Americans understood the climate, believed that they had use but not ownership of the land, and lived in a certain harmony with forests, waters, plants, and animals. The newcomers came from cultures where men owned the land and controlled the resources within definite territorial boundaries. The contests to control this environment is another part of the story.

To all these landscapes, the landscape of technology will be applied to images, maps, video and audio clips, letters, diaries, and public documents in order to discover and explore the meaning of Jamestown and its legacies for past, present, and future generations, from 1607 to 2007 and beyond.

©Crandall Shifflett
All Rights Reserved