On the 405th Anniversary of the landing at Cape Henry

This stone cross set up in 1935 by the Daughters of the American Colonists commemorates the 1607 landfall at Cape Henry, in Virginia Beach.
On April 26, 1607 British colonists landed at Cape Henry, Virginia and there began what would become the most free, the most propserous nation in the history of mankind.

Try though others might to rewrite that nation’s history, it began with a prayer. In fact, though the ships reached shore on April 26, the settlers did not come ashore until April 29 because the Reverend Robert Hunt, who later founded the Church at Jamestown, called for three days of prayer and fasting. Reverent Hunt said “From these very shores the Gospel shall go forth to not only this New World but the entire world.”

And in the First Charter of Virginia, King James I assigned lands for the stated purpose of propagating the Christian religion. The Charter reads in part:

“We greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government; DO by these our Letters Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires.”

Even more significant since in those days land referred to as Virginia stretched from South Carolina to Maine and far to the West.

That beginning is marked today with a monument in the shape of the cross. The Bearing Drift logo bears the Cape Henry lighthouses. The original light was the first public building in the new U.S. government.

Earlier today, Governor McDonnell issued the following statement:

Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on 405th Anniversary of First Landing at Cape Henry

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement this afternoon on the 405th Anniversary of the Virginia Company’s first landing at Cape Henry in Virginia Beach. The landing marked the beginning of the British colonies in the United States; colonies that would become the United States of America.

“It was 405 years ago today when Captain Christopher Newport and settlers from the Virginia Company first reached the New World. They stepped ashore at a point of land they named ‘Cape Henry’, located at the southern entrance to the Chesapeake Bay in what is today Virginia’s largest city, Virginia Beach. Traveling from Great Britain in three ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, the settlers had been traveling for 144 days. Upon making that first landing, the settlers planted a cross to thank God for the safe journey and this new land. They then continued up the waterway they named the ‘James River’, going 40 miles inland before establishing the Jamestown settlement.

With that first landing Virginia, and by extension America, was born. Fittingly, this nation was born as part of an entrepreneurial pursuit. The Virginia Company was a joint-stock company created in order to establish colonies in the New World and to promote free enterprise. The Company was meant to not only settle, but also to profit. After many struggles and setbacks, the Company would do so, before losing its charter in 1624, at which point Virginia became a royal colony.

It is fitting that the 405th Anniversary of this occasion falls in 2012, which we have marked as ‘The Year of the Entrepreneur.’ Today, Virginia’s heritage as a land of opportunity lives on in the pursuits of our job-creators. They innovate, expand, create, and grow. They take great risks to follow their dreams. In so doing they enrich our Commonwealth and they employ our citizens. They have made Virginia the most business friendly state in America. And it all began, 405 years ago today, with a quiet landing on the sandy shores of Virginia Beach.”

Cross posted at The Write Side of My Brain.

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