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Historic Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg

In keeping with the historical perspective of the Coastal Semester Program we will experience the story of America's beginnings at Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center. We will use Chippokes Plantation State Park, one of the oldest working farms in the United States, as our base of operations. A living historical exhibit located in a rural agricultural area along the James River, Chippokes State Park offers easy access to both Jamestowne and Colonial Williamsburg.

Through film, artifact-filled galleries and outdoor living history, we will engage in nearly two centuries of our nation's history from the founding of America's first permanent English settlement in 1607 to the decisive Revolutionary War victory in 1781 and implementation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. At Jamestown Settlement, you'll learn about the people of 17th-century Virginia Powhatan Indians and European and African immigrants. At the Yorktown Victory Center, you'll discover the lives of men and women who witnessed the American Revolution and the formation of the new nation. 

Another stop on our historical journey to coastal settlements will be Colonial Williamsburg, the thriving capital of Virginia when the dream of American freedom and independence was taking shape and the colony was a rich and powerful land stretching west to the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes. For 81 formative years, from 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg was the political, cultural and educational center of what was then the largest, most populous and most influential of the American colonies. It was here that the fundamental concepts of our republic responsible leadership, a sense of public service, self-government and individual liberty were nurtured under the leadership of patriots such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and Peyton Randolph.

In Colonial Williamsburg’s 301-acre historic area stand hundreds of restored, reconstructed and historically furnished buildings. Costumed interpreters tell the stories of the men and women of the 18th-century city black, white, and native American, slave, indentured and free and the challenges they faced.

coastal studies
Coastal students re-create life in 17th century Virginia.

coastal studies
Working with archeologists at the Jamestown excavation site, students watch environmental history unfold.

coastal studies
Students learn about historic breeds of domesticated animals used by the early colonists.

coastal studies
Zoo-archeologists at Williamsburg uncover the details of farming practices and colonial diet in the New World.

coastal studies
Comparing Native American and European cultures helps to gain insight into early environmental changes in the region.