The 10 Best Documentaries About Jamestown

Aug 21, 2023 | Best Of, Culture, History

Jamestown is a historic settlement located in Virginia, founded in 1607. It was the first permanent English colony in what would become the United States and an important part of history. If you’re interested in learning more about Jamestown, here are some great documentaries to help you do just that.


1. Death At Jamestown – 17th Century Jamestown’s Dead Secrets

As the 104 colonists set sail from London aboard the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery in December 1606, they were filled with optimism and anticipation for what lay ahead. They had been funded by a group of London entrepreneurs known as The Virginia Company to establish a settlement in America and perhaps even find the lost colony of Roanoke if luck was on their side. But luck, unfortunately, was not on their side. Weeks were spent stranded offshore and supplies began to dwindle as the journey dragged on, claiming the lives of dozens of passengers before they could reach Virginia’s shores. Yet 104 brave settlers persisted and upon landing on May 13th 1607, they quickly set up a triangle-shaped fort for protection from Spanish rivals who didn’t want the British to colonize any part of the New World. These 104 brave individuals had no idea what their fate would be in America, but they persevered in spite of the odds stacked against them.


2. Jamestown Pioneers Of America

From its very genesis, the United States of America has been the product of a diverse range of cultures. And whilst many recognize that American history was forged by those with dreams of religious freedom and self-governance, few are aware of the significant role Polish immigrants have played in this story. The courage needed to make such a journey cannot be underestimated. Faced with language barriers, prejudice and an unfamiliar environment, Poles nonetheless left their homes in search of a better life in the New World. Little did they know that they would also be helping to form one of the most influential countries on earth.


3. The Establishment of Jamestown- Staving Off Death in England’s First Permanent

John Smith had a vision for the Jamestown settlement. He wanted to create a community that would be a beacon of wealth and prosperity in England. But when the colonists first arrived, they quickly discovered just how hard life in Jamestown could be. With limited supplies and dire conditions, many of them fell victim to sickness and starvation. It seemed as though the settlement wouldn’t last much longer. Fortunately, John Smith had an idea to turn things around. He began organizing men and supplies that were sent from England to help them survive. This, coupled with his leadership skills, helped the settlement stay afloat through their darkest days. Jamestown eventually blossomed into a thriving community that served as a major hub for trading between the colonists and Native Americans. His efforts helped make Jamestown the success it is today.


4. What Was Life Like In First American Colony

If you’re looking for a tale of excitement and adventure, then look no further than the early English settlements of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg in Virginia. Here is where an ambitious group of settlers arrived to make their dreams come true and create a home away from home – marking the beginnings of America as we know it today. At the request of King William III and Queen Mary II, Williamsburg was established as a university town in 1693. This provided an ideal environment for the colonists to begin their lives anew – with educational opportunities for them and their children, plus many amenities that were essential for establishing a sustainable livelihood. Life in these early settlements wasn’t easy – but the rewards for hard work and perseverance were great. Much of the day-to-day activities revolved around growing crops, building houses, keeping animals and engaging in trade with neighboring towns. The colonists also used apothecary shops to meet their medical needs – which often included some quite unusual concoctions! Today, these three settlements offer visitors an exciting glimpse into the past – from their historic buildings and monuments, to the stories of those who lived and worked here. It’s an inspiring reminder of how a vision can be made real through hard work and determination – something that is as relevant today as it was then.


5. Nightmare in Jamestown

Jamestown, Virginia was the site of a hard-fought struggle to establish the first successful English settlement in America. From its earliest days, Jamestown had to contend with extreme weather conditions and limited resources, resulting in high mortality rates and prompting many colonists to abandon their attempts at settling. In addition, discord among different groups of settlers caused further strife. John Smith, Jamestown’s first leader, made the controversial decision to trade with Native Americans for food and supplies. While this gave the settlers a much-needed boost of sustenance, his approach was met with strong opposition and eventually led to his removal from power in 1609. Despite these obstacles, Jamestown persevered. The story of Jamestown is a testament to the power of human will in the face of adversity. Its citizens faced numerous challenges in their effort to establish a home for themselves, but through creative solutions and hard work they eventually succeeded in creating a lasting legacy. From its humble beginnings, Jamestown is now an integral part of our nation’s history and a beacon of hope for all who strive to build better lives for themselves and their families.


6. Jamestown Rediscovery – a world uncovered

Welcome to the remarkable story of Jamestown Rediscovery – where history comes alive! For centuries, Jamestown has been shrouded in mystery. It was home to America’s first permanent English settlement, yet much of its past remained hidden and forgotten. With modern archaeological techniques, researchers have uncovered a deeper understanding of the Jamestown story. Through meticulous excavation, teams of archaeologists have unearthed artifacts from all around the James Fort site. From everyday items like pottery and tools to luxury items such as glass beads and metal objects, these discoveries offer an unprecedented glimpse into early American life. It is through this research that we can appreciate how resilient and resourceful the Jamestown settlers were, despite facing tremendous odds.


7. The Jamestown Massacre 1622

The Jamestown Massacre of 1622 serves as a sobering reminder of the fragility of relations between cultures, especially when land is concerned. This momentous event has been extensively documented and provides an important insight into the history of English colonization in Virginia. From the founding of Jamestown in 1607 until the massacre, there was a continual conflict between the native Powhatan Confederacy and the English colonists. This tension resulted in three major wars; the First Anglo Powhatan War, the Second Anglo Powhatan War and the Third Anglo Powhatan War. The hostility between these two sides was not quelled until 1646, when a peace treaty was signed.


8. First Colonies- American Colonial History

The first European foothold in North America was established in 1565 when the Spanish founded their colony of Saint Augustine in modern-day Florida. In 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh followed suit by establishing the first English colony in the future United States and Canada at Roanoke Island in North Carolina. This brief attempt at colonization didn’t last long as it soon dissolved. However, in 1587, a second attempt was made under John White’s leadership and the first English child born in North America – Virginia Dare – arrived. Despite this promising beginning, tragedy soon struck with the arrival of the Spanish Armada dispatched to invade England in 1588. Although ultimately destroyed by a combination of English forces and unfavorable weather, it spelled doom for the fledgling Roanoke settlement which was found abandoned the following year and all that remained were the words ‘Croatoan’ scrawled on wood.


9. The Virginia Colony-U.S. History

It was 1607 when John Smith and his fellow settlers arrived in the area that would later become Jamestown. They were a determined group of colonists, looking to start a new life on American soil. Little did they know, their settlement would open up an era of growth and prosperity for the southern colonies, as well as introduce African slavery into English America. Pocahontas, the daughter of a Native American chief, played an integral role in aiding John Smith and his fellow settlers. Without her courage and leadership, Jamestown may have never been able to become a successful settlement. Her friendship with John Smith brought together two different cultures, forever changing the southern colonies and English America as they knew it. The settlement of Jamestown and the introduction of African slavery changed the course of American history. The newfound opportunities that were created from this development opened up a world for settlers to explore and thrive in. While it was not without its struggles, the lasting impact that this period had on America remains undeniable.


10. Jamestown Virginia Colony – new developments on an old story

The first British colony in North America was established in Jamestown, Virginia. Established in 1607, the town is now home to a myriad of new developments that have made it into an even more vibrant and exciting place to visit. From its historic sites to its flourishing restaurants and lifestyle venues, Jamestown has something for everyone. Those drawn to the historical side of things will want to spend their days touring the sites that remain from the original settlement. Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to start, as it brings together three centuries of history in one spot. Don’t miss out on Historic Jamestowne either – exploring over 500 years of artifacts and ruins that tell an incredible story. A visit wouldn’t be complete without exploring the great outdoors. Jamestown is surrounded by lush forests, waterways and beaches – perfect for fishing, boating, biking, swimming and much more. There’s also plenty of wildlife to observe in this natural habitat. Those interested in the modern side of Jamestown can explore its lively dining and nightlife scene. From casual eateries to upmarket restaurants, there’s something for every palette in the area. After dinner, enjoy a craft beer at one of the local breweries or sample some unique cocktails at one of the bars.

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David B