Cape Henry. Virginia Historical Society
On 15 February 1928 a bill to create the Cape Henry Memorial Commission
was read a second and third time by the Senate. The bill states "That the governor is hereby authorized to appoint a
commission of twelve . . . the said commission is authorized to take all proper steps, either directly or in conjunction
with other agencies, societies, organizations and individuals, towards commemorating the fact that the first landing
of the colonists in sixteen hundred and seven was at Cape Henry."
On April 26, 1607, after a voyage from London that lasted eighteen difficult weeks, 104 men and boys aboard
the Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed came safely ashore three miles north of what is today Virginia Beach.
Known as the first Jamestown settlers, these men sailed under the command of Captain Christopher Newport.
On April 29th the colonists, "set up a Crosse at Chesupioc Bay and named that place Cape Henry," for Henry,
Prince of Wales. The men also named the river in which they anchored their ships in honor of the prince's father,
After exploring the area, Captain Newport and his men sailed up the river for the first time and encountered
Virginia Indians. One colonist, George Percy, along with other settlers, traveled ahead of the main group, reporting
back on May 12th that a prime location for settlement existed farther up the river, at a place later known as
"Archer's Point." Ignoring his suggestion, Newport chose an area with deeper waters for anchoring the ships
and that allowed for a better defensive position. They called it James Fort, or Jamestown. On 13 May 1607,
settlement of Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in the New World, began.
Part of the Colonial National Historical Park, and located on Fort Story Military Reservation in Virginia
Beach, the Cape Henry Memorial includes a granite memorial cross, commemorating the bravery and
adventurous spirit of those first settlers who landed there.
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