Bermuda marks 400th anniversary, Jamestown links

By: AP
By: AP

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Bermuda is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year, and a new exhibition called "Jamestown and Bermuda: Virginia Company Colonies" looks at the shared history and links between England's first two permanent colonies in the New World.

The exhibit at Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg opens March 1.

Jamestown, Va., celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2007. A British presence on Bermuda dates to 1609 when the Sea Venture, the flagship of a fleet of nine ships heading from England to Jamestown, was caught in a violent storm. The Sea Venture's passengers survived, built two smaller ships in Bermuda and in 1610 sailed to Virginia, leaving two people behind on the island.

Shakespeare was said to have used survivors' accounts of the Sea Venture shipwreck as inspiration for his play "The Tempest."

More than two dozen objects from the Sea Venture underwater archaeological site will be exhibited in Jamestown, on loan from the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Also on display will be a 17th-century cedar chair from the Parliament of Bermuda. The island's first legislative body was formed in 1620.

Virginia and Bermuda were initially administered by the Virginia Company of London and later became British royal colonies. Today, Bermuda is the oldest self-governing British overseas territory.

Events in Bermuda marking the anniversary include a "Tall Ships" festival planned for June 11-15 in Hamilton.

Jamestown Settlement is located southwest of Williamsburg on Route 31 at the Colonial Parkway next to Historic Jamestowne, site of the 1607 English settlement. Permanent exhibits include outdoor re-creations of an early 17th-century Powhatan Indian village, the three ships that brought America's first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 and a colonial fort.

The "Jamestown and Bermuda" exhibition will continue through Oct. 15. Details at http://www.historyisfun.org. A video and a background paper, both titled "The Story of the Sea Venture," are available at http://www.historyisfun.org/jamestown-and-bermuda.htm.


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