Grandma Teaches History

The Founding of Jamestown

Studying history and learning about historical events becomes more interesting and exciting when you become personally involved. Collecting stamps that commemorate an event or celebrate the contributions of historical figures is a wonderful way to involve young people in the study of history.

An excellent example is the recent celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the USA. The stamp issued in 2007 shows the three ships that brought the settlers to America's shores - the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. Christopher Newport, who led the expedition, was captain of the largest ship, the Susan Constant.

These three ships were also on an earlier stamp, one issued 100 years before in honor of the 300th anniversary of the settlement's founding. The 1907 stamp shows the settlers landing; the ships are in the rear.

John Smith, a member of the Jamestown Governing Council who is known for his strong leadership of the colony, is also remembered on a stamp. Like the above stamp that shows the landing, Smith's was also issued for the 300th anniversary of the settlement's founding. The original painting from which this portrait was taken is in the Virginia State Library. The stamp also includes pictures of Pocahontas and Powhatan in the upper corners.

Smith's connection to Pocahontas is well recorded in children's literature as well as by Walt Disney. The real Pocahontas, who does not look much like Disney's version, is shown in this 5 cent stamp, which like the John Smith stamp, was issued in 1907.