Monday, September 21, 2009

Fort Algernoune, 1609: Colonial Virginia's Maritime Rim

From October 16 to 18, a celebration and conference commemorating the 400th anniversary of Anglo-America's first coastal fortification -- "Fort Algernoune, 1609: Colonial Virginia's Maritime Rim" -- will take place at Old Point Comfort, the national historic landmark site of present-day Fort Monroe.

"Algernoune Fort" was constructed at what's now called Old Point Comfort to guard approaches to Jamestown colony and the Chesapeake Bay.

The October event is said to be planned "to consider how the maritime rim of colonial Virginia developed an egalitarian and culturally diverse society different from its Jamestown neighbor."

Participants include James Whittenburg, William R. Pullen Chair, Department of History, College of William & Mary; William M. Kelso, Director of Archaeology, Historic Jamestowne Rediscovery Archaeological Project, Preservation Virginia; Ivor Noël Hume, OBE , Research Associate (hon.) Smithsonian Institution; Camilla Townsend, Professor of History, Rutgers University; David Harris Sacks, Richard F. Scholz Professor of History, Reed College; James Horn, Vice President of Research and Historical Interpretation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; and Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Silver Professor of History, New York University.

The Fort Algernoune, 1609 celebration and conference commemorates the 400th anniversary of Anglo-America’s first coastal fortification. It honors the US Army’s outstanding military legacy, embodied in Fort Monroe, and recognizes the enduring significance of Old Point Comfort’s strategic location in defending American freedom. The celebrations will begin on Friday,October 16, 2009, with an Army Retreat Ceremony on Fort Monroe’s parade ground, home to the ancient Algernoune Live Oak. The event will include a US Citizen Naturalization ceremony.

Immediately thereafter, the Casemate Museum will host a reception to open a new historical exhibit on Fort Algernoune.

On Saturday,October 17, the symposium will consider how the maritime rim of colonial Virginia developed. Fort Algernoune introduced English maritime law to the New World, imposed the nascent customs system, regulated commerce, and enforced allegiance to the British crown.

Most importantly, it created a visible symbol of England’s bid for sovereignty over vast stretches of the Atlantic shoreline.On Sunday,October 18, conference attendees have several options,which include an elegant Sunday brunch at the restored 1928 Chamberlin dining room overlooking the entrance to the Hampton Roads Harbor, or one of two tours: a boat excursion to Fort Wool or a land tour of Fort Boykin and other historic sites along the James River.

$50, includes lunch.Optional tours, $25 per person

Phone: 757-637-7778
151 Bernard Road • FortMonroe,VA 23651

For more information, please see the links on the left side of the home page at the Web site of the Fort Monroe Authority (officially, that's the "Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority"),

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