What Is the Historic Triangle?

The Convergence of English Colonialism, the Revolutionary War, and American Democracy

For being only 200 square miles in size, the area known as the Historic Triangle played a vital and outsized role in the early days of English colonialism and the eventual birth of America as we know it. The “triangle” comprises Jamestown, which is on one edge of the Virginia peninsula along the James River; Yorktown, which is on the opposite side, bordering the York River; and Williamsburg, centrally located between the two and a bit north. 

During your stay at our Williamsburg bed and breakfast, it’s well worth planning a visit to these areas, where you can take day trips and explore the bounty of historical sites.

Where English Settlers First Landed

Jamestown is where three English ships reached shore in 1607 after making the 5-month journey from England, setting up on the marshy and wooded strip of land that juts out from the Virginia peninsula into the James River. This area would become the first permanent English colonial settlement. The English settlers, numbering only in the hundreds, would establish roots alongside the Powhatan Native American tribe, who had long been thriving along the river, fishing the water and farming the fertile soil. Jamestown was the seat of English colonial influence, and it served as Virginia’s capital until 1699 when Williamsburg became the new colonial capital.

The history at Jamestown is presented through two museum sites which compliment one another.  Jamestown Island is the original site and features archaeological digs and interpretations in the Archearium.  Adjacent is Jamestown Settlement.

When you visit the Jamestown Settlement, you can climb aboard recreations of the three ships that brought the settlers across the Atlantic, as well as tour a Powhatan village, getting a glimpse into how they lived 400 years ago.

Ship sailing on the water

The Final Chapter of a Long-Fought Revolution 

The 18th century was a time of brimming discontent amongst the English colonialists, culminating in the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775. After several years of intense skirmishes, Yorktown was the site of the war’s last major battle and where the British Army surrendered to the allied Continental Army, led by none other than George Washington.

This crucial victory would lead to our nation’s founding and is on display at the American Revolution Museum, where you can step foot into a Continental Army encampment and experience firsthand what a day in the life of a soldier was like during their fight for independence. Interpreters will walk you through how their camp functioned, how they prepared for battle, and how they fired off traditional muskets.

After visiting the museum, take a self guided drive through the battlefields and see the Moore House where the treaty was signed, ending the Revolutionary War.

Colonial drummers

Williamsburg’s Important Role in Our Democracy’s Founding

Where Jamestown marked the arrival of English colonialism and Yorktown the end of the British Crown’s rule over the settlers, Williamsburg played an essential role in the early days of our democracy, serving as the capital of Virginia, the largest of the original thirteen colonies from 1699 to 1780. William and Mary, whose beautiful campus is within walking distance of Fife and Drum Inn, was where leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe engaged in intellectual debates that helped spark the growing rebellion against British rule. Out of this rebellious spirit, democratic ideals began to take shape. Colonial Williamsburg is the centerpiece of our city’s rich history, where colonial-era life is on realistic display at the world’s largest living history museum.

Yorktown, Jamestown and Williamsburg are connected by the 23-mile-long tree-lined road Colonial Parkway which is part of the Colonial National Historical Park. The parkway is verdant and scenic as you cross the peninsula through nature areas, preserved to look much as it did during colonial times.

If you plan to visit Yorktown and Jamestown during your stay in Williamsburg, get the Historic Triangle Ticket, which grants you seven consecutive days to see all the museums and historical sites in the three locations.

Reserve your stay with us, and the Historic Triangle will be at your doorstep!