First Landing State Park 2500 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

History of First Landing



On the early morning (about 4 a.m.)

 of Sunday, April 26, 1607, three small

ships carring the first permanent

settlers of Virginia approached the

shore near Cape Henry at the mouth of

the Chesapeake Bay. This Virginia

Company of London expedition had set

sail from England on Dec. 26, 1606.

  Released from their four month

confinement at sea, they made

landfall just west of the cape, where

the reverend Robert Hunt led the

colonists in giving thanks to god for

their “safe” voyage.

 Captain Christopher Newport, the

expedition’s commander until the first

charter’s requirements were carried

out, went ashore that morning with a

party to explore this new land filled

with “freshwaters, faire meadowes," and

“goodly tall trees”. During an

afternoon encounter with indians, two

of the party were wounded.

 That evening the colonists opened the

strong box and read the instructions

contained in the first charter.  Upon

discovering that the members of the

council were named but not its

president, they held the first recorded

free election under English common

law; the vote being duly recorded for the

establishment of “James Cittie”.


A second party was to put ashore

 the next day to assemble a “shallop”,

 which is a small boat. This shallop was

 used to explore the lower reaches of

 the Chesapeake Bay and the

 Lynnhaven River, possibly as far in-

land as today’s Thalia and Wolf Snare.

According to George Percy, younger

son of the Duke of Northumberland,

who was with them, “on the nine and

twentieth day we returned to the

mouth of the Chesiopic, set up a cross

and called the place Cape Henry” for

Henry, Prince of Wales, elder son of

 king James I.

   April 30 found them at a new

anchorage, “Cape Comfort” and shortly

thereafter they entered the James River.

After two weeks of searching both sides

of the James River for a suitable site,

they established the first permanent

settlement on May 13, 1607, naming it

“James Cittie” for king James I.

(information and picture provided by

the department of the interior)